Amazon falls out of favour with Birkenstock amid counterfeit accusations

German footwear company Birkenstock is ending its business relations with Amazon Europe and will discontinue direct deliveries provided by the platform’s European subsidiary from 1 January 2018, it revealed in a shock announcement on Monday.


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Birkenstock cited a ‘breakdown in trust’ in the online retailer following a series of complaints regarding the sale of counterfeits. Birkenstock said Amazon has failed to prevent a number of violations on its platform, and has also failed to provide a solution to the counterfeit problem.

“On a number of occasions, Birkenstock lodged a complaint that counterfeit products of poor quality which infringed Birkenstock's trademark rights and misled the consumers regarding the origins of goods were being made available on the platform,” said the German company in a press release.

“Putting the issue of legal obligations aside, Birkenstock is of the opinion that an integral part of a trusting business relationship is that, upon being first notified as the operator of the marketplace platform of such a breach of the law, Amazon would, of its own accord, do everything within its power to prevent this type of and similar infringements,” Birkenstock said.

The footwear company aims to protect the identity and positioning of its comfort-focused shoes, which are manufactured in Germany and are known worldwide for their high quality.

According to a report from CNBC, Amazon mingles inventory from distributors at its fulfillment centers, which means original products and fakes can get mixed together.

Birkenstock said the breakdown in trust had already prompted it to stop direct deliveries handled by Amazon in the US in January 2017 following a series of similar incidents there. Its products can still be purchased on the platform, but order fulfilment is not handled by the e-tailer.

Family-owned Birkenstock is a global brand with 3,500 employees worldwide and sales offices in the US, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Spain, and the UK. Its products are sold in more than 90 countries on all five continents. 

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