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Alibaba Sued By Gucci, YSL And Others Over Alleged Counterfeits
The owner of several of the world’s best-known luxury brands has filed a fresh lawsuit against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the latest challenge to the Chinese e-commerce giant’s assertions that it fights the sale of counterfeit goods on its platforms.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan by Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands owned by Paris-based Kering SA, indicates that the company is unsatisfied with Alibaba’s efforts to address the problem of counterfeiting of its brands.
The suit alleges that Alibaba and its associated companies “knowingly encourage, assist, and profit from the sale of counterfeits on their online platforms,” according to a copy of the filing reviewed by us.
Alibaba said the complaint had no basis and that it has a “strong track record” of helping brands fight counterfeits.
“Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation. We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously,” an Alibaba spokesman said.
It is the second time Kering’s brands have sued Alibaba. Last July, a few months before Alibaba launched its initial public offering in the U.S., the luxury brands filed a similar lawsuit against Alibaba but then withdrew it two weeks later.
Alibaba and Kering had said that they would work together to reduce the counterfeiting of Kering’s brands. The brands said in the latest filing that the claims made last July were now being reasserted.
Among the lawsuit’s allegations are that Alibaba permits and encourages “numerous counterfeiters” to operate on its various platforms even when the merchants openly state that they are selling fake goods.
The suit alleges that Alibaba helps counterfeiters by providing them marketing and logistical services on its various platforms, including the international wholesale trading site Alibaba.com, the global shopping site AliExpress.com and Taobao, its bazaar-like online marketplace.
Alibaba sells keywords to counterfeiters that include the names of Kering brands, allowing the merchants to attract more customers to buy fake goods that bear the brands, the lawsuit alleges. Also, it alleges, Alibaba’s search engine will suggest terms such as “cucchi” and “guchi” when “Gucci” is typed into search bars, directing customers to sellers of fake merchandise and enabling Alibaba to profit from the sales of such keywords.
The Kering brands are seeking unspecified damages based on sales or profit from the items and a court order preventing Alibaba from participating in the sale, marketing and distribution of counterfeit products, among other measures.
Such complaints underscore one risk for Alibaba, which in September raised $25 billion from global investors in the world’s largest initial public offering.
Alibaba has long grappled with allegations that its online shopping platform Taobao is full of counterfeit merchandise, which could damage the company’s reputation and image among investors and brands.
The issue was a key focus of a Chinese government report in late January that criticized Alibaba for not doing enough to address the sale of fake goods, bribery and other illegal activity on its sites. Chinese officials later removed the report in what Alibaba called a vindication.
In April, a U.S. clothing trade group accused Alibaba of tolerating fake goods on Taobao. The American Apparel and Footwear Association, which represents more than 1,000 brands, sent letters dated April 8 to U.S. securities and trade officials complaining that Alibaba had been “sluggish” in implementing measures to curb the sale of counterfeit goods on Taobao.
Alibaba said at the time that it has been working with the association on the issue since 2012 and that it is dedicated to fighting counterfeits.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman later addressed the clothing group’s concerns, saying U.S. officials were “troubled” by reports from the association that Taobao’s measures for taking down counterfeit items were unclear and slow.
“We also believe that Taobao’s continued failure to engage with administrative and criminal enforcement authorities is cause for heightened concern,” Mr. Holleyman said in a speech at a conference the clothing association held in Washington, D.C. last month. He said trade officials would urge Taobao to “get things back on track.”
Alibaba didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr. Holleyman’s remarks.
In the past year, brands such as Burberry that have opened up on Alibaba’s Tmall site have received promises from the e-commerce giant that it will purge gray-market goods—products sold by retailers not authorized by the brands —on Tmall or do more to fight fakes on Taobao. But Alibaba hasn't made the same deal with all brands on Tmall, a marketplace of about 70,000 mostly large brands.
Meanwhile, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, a group that works to protect intellectual property, negotiated an agreement with Alibaba last year to automatically remove suspected counterfeits from its largest shopping site, Taobao, and the pact is going “exceptionally well,” said coalition president Bob Barchiesi on Sunday.
The expedited takedown process, similar to what sites like eBay use, means that suspected counterfeits are now removed within two days, according to Mr. Barchiesi, instead of taking up to weeks to be removed. The process is available to about two dozen brands that have signed up but could expand, the group said.
Alibaba Scams And Complaints
You took my money: $99.00 to be a "Verified Member" and then you deactivated my account. You guys are crooks and scammers!
PayPal dispute: Item not received PP-003-903-967-825
Dear Monty Henry,
You have opened a dispute for the payment you made to ALIBABA.COM SINGAPORE
E-COMMERCE PRIVATE LIMITED on May 7, 2015 (Transaction 77R7475786943625L)
indicating that you did not receive the item you purchased.
Seller's Name: ALIBABA.COM SINGAPORE E-COMMERCE PRIVATE LIMITED
Seller's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Seller's Transaction ID: 29E63788CF636912R
Transaction Date: May 7, 2015
Transaction Amount: -$99.00 USD
Your Transaction ID: 77R7475786943625L
Case Number: PP-003-903-967-825
Buyer's Transaction ID: 77R7475786943625L
Also I've just been told the following:
"Dear Monty Henry,
This email is regarding the appeal you have filed for your Alibaba.com account reactivation.
Unfortunately we will not be able to reactivate your account due to security reasons. This email confirms that your appeal was not successful and your account will be kept closed.
Please be aware that this is a system generated email. Please do NOT reply to this email directly.
I consider this very unprofessional and uncourteous! Why am I not told what the problem is specifically AND allowed to correct the problem? The only thing I've done recently is put a anti-terrorist product on my Alibaba product page AFTER I did a search and found others companies selling the same products.
Let this be a lesson to other (USA-based) sellers on Alibaba. You guys fear competition from USA companies for certain items and then you deactivate our accounts claiming a violation of your policy.
I'm going to make sure to post this issue all over the Internet!
Monty Henry, Owner
Brad K: Published Friday, April 17, 2015
MR A SWAN: Published Thursday, April 9, 2015
Hat’s off to JACK YUN MA the founder of Alibaba.com/Aliexpress.com these two companies form the “PROTECTION SHIELD” which allows sellers all over the world to scam anyone and everyone who buys products from their websites, with no one able to anything about it at all.
1. If you have a problem with an item you bought you can email the seller, BUT there is no guarantee that the seller will email back and if you are lucky enough to get a reply back he will not help you. (nothing you can do)
2. You can try to contact “Customer Service”, but you are most likely to get through to a robot chat system. Sometimes on (Alibaba ONLY) you might be lucky and get a live chat with a Human BUT of course this will not resolve anything at all they will just take you round and round in small circles and you will get nowhere.(nothing you can do)
3. There are ABSOLUTELY NO EMAIL addresses for any of these companies, so this method of contact is out the window. (nothing you can do)
4. You CAN NOT report a problem to the Police as they do not want to know
5. You CAN NOT get your government to look into it because they can not do anything because china has different law’s
6. It is most unlikely that you would find a Solicitor who would be willing to take on a case of this type and if you did there are suggestions on the internet that Solicitors fee’s for such a case would be well over $2000.00
7. If you’re purchase was on Aliexpress and you get a HUMAN customer service rep on Alibaba as soon as you give them your order number or mention Aliexpress they will pass you over to Aliexpress customer service quicker that you are able to blink and yes you’ve guessed nothing will be done.
The website should be renamed to Alibaba and the on-line thieves
The best advice regarding these companies is
STAY WELL AWAY DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FORM ANY OF THESE WEBSITES
Susan Fisher: Published Thursday, April 9, 2015
A Horror Show!
I ordered a bedframe from 11 Main (apparently a name for Alibaba home goods) and here were my problems:
1) The order somehow went in twice, so was I was charged twice.
2) Contacted them right away because I didn't want TWO bed frames turning up, nor did I want to have two charges. Got weird form letter back that left me totally in the dark about what was happening. Went to my bank and disputed charge.
3) Got an email saying my bed was no longer coming--out of stock. I emailed and asked why the charge still hadn't been reversed. Received a number of email letters that said very little/gave no direct answer. Finally had to call bank and dispute this charge, as well.
4) No phone number was ever given so I could talk to anyone in person and get things worked out/my questions answered.
5) I will never buy anything from them again no matter how good a deal it may seem price-wise.
The “bait-and-switch” scam is one of the oldest scams in retail and, of course, it’s often perpetrated on Alibaba.com as well. In this scam, a supplier will attract buyers with advertisements for one type of product, but when a buyer places an order, he’ll be sent an obviously inferior product instead.
CAMERA FINDER III
On Alibaba.com, you’re looking to buy real human hair extensions for women. You do a product search and find a Gold Supplier in Mumbai, India, Golden Hair Products Co., advertising real human hair extensions at a price of $50 per 2”x12” strand of hair.
Golden Hair accepts payment by Paypal, and so you place an order for 20 strands – and arrange for DHL express air shipping, which you pay for.
You contact Alibaba.com and Paypal, but both tell you that they’re in no position to judge whether the hair you received is real human hair or not.
As far as they’re concerned, as long as you received your shipment of products, Golden Hair has fulfilled its obligations and is entitled to your money.
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