Birkenstock is cutting ties with Amazon Europe over concerns about counterfeits.
The German footwear company said Monday that beginning Jan. 1, 2018, it is terminating business relations and ending direct deliveries provided by Amazon’s Luxembourg-based European subsidiary.
In a press release, Birkenstock claimed there has been a series of violations of the law on Amazon’s Marketplace platform, which the online retailer failed to prevent. Birkenstock said on a number of occasions, it filed complaints that counterfeit products of poor quality, which infringed the company’s trademark rights and misled the consumers regarding the origins of goods that, were being made available on the platform.
Birkenstock argues that Amazon did not foster a “trusting business relationship” or try to prevent these types of infringements.
Additionally, the footwear brand pointed out that no binding statement has been made to the effect that no more counterfeit Birkenstock products would be offered for sale through Amazon Marketplace. Instead, Birkenstock said there recent months brought further legal violations of a different nature, which Amazon also failed to proactively prevent.
Birkenstock stopped supplying its products to Amazon in the U.S. and ended authorization of Amazon’s third-party merchants to sell Birkenstock footwear on the site in July. However, that didn’t stop the e-commerce giant from devising a plan to work around the footwear brand’s wishes.
In July, Amazon contacted sellers that use its Fulfillment by Amazon service, notifying them that Amazon may want to purchase product from them that it will then resell. In an email to sellers, Amazon stated, “To increase visibility of your selection and help boost your sales, we have created a new FBA program where Amazon can purchase your products and sell them to customers, including on Amazon marketplaces worldwide.”
Birkenstock Americas CEO David Kahan called the move “bad behavior” and warned any authorized sellers thinking of taking Amazon up on this offer.
“This is modern day piracy on the high seas,” he told Sourcing Journal and Vamp at the time. “How can a major retailer who is not a vendor’s partner solicit and entice authorized partners to sell them via a back-channel? If any retailer did in fact take Amazon up on their offer to purchase, they would violate our policy and be closed as an account immediately and forever.”