Amazon and Cartier joined forces Wednesday in US court to accuse a social media influencer of working with Chinese firms to sell knock-offs of the luxury brand's jewelry on the e-commerce giant's site.
The online personality used sites like Instagram to pitch Cartier jewelry such as "Love bracelets" to followers and then provided links that led to counterfeit versions on Amazon, one of two lawsuits alleged.
The influencer appeared to be a woman in Handan, China, and the merchants involved in the "counterfeiting scheme" were traced to other Chinese cities, according to court documents.
"By using social media to promote counterfeit products, bad actors undermine trust and mislead customers," Amazon associate general counsel Kebharu Smith said in a statement.
"We don't just want to chase them away from Amazon -- we want to stop them for good," Smith added.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has booted vendors targeted in the suit from its platform, and teamed with Cartier to urge a federal court to make them pay damages and legal costs for hawking knock-off jewelry there from June 2020 through June 2021.
The "sophisticated campaign" sought to avoid detection by having the social media influencer pitch jewelry as being Cartier, but the vendors made no mention of the luxury brand at their shops at Amazon, the lawsuit said.
Buyers, however, were sent jewelry bearing Cartier trademarks, the companies alleged in court documents.
A second lawsuit accuses an Amazon store operating under the name "YFXF" last year of selling counterfeit Cartier goods, disguising jewelry as unbranded at the website but sending buyers knock-offs bearing the company's trademark.
Those involved in the scheme "advertised their counterfeit products on third-party social media websites by using 'hidden links' to direct their followers to the counterfeit Cartier products, while disguising the products as non-branded in the listings in the Amazon Store," the lawsuit said.
The companies said that Instagram direct messages and shared links were used to instruct social media followers about how to buy knock-offs at Amazon.