[ABC] South Jersey man accused of selling counterfeit health supplements

Wonder what his Forum posting and Account Health histories looked like :eyes:

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Police say the suspect was putting things like cinnamon and sugar in a jar and passing it off as a high-end health supplement.

Apparently, @ASV_Vites has been doing it all wrong.

:laughing:

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Not according to @VTR

:laughing:

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I’m going to guess something along the lines of “I know what I am doing” and “I don’t need no invoices”.

Interestingly enough the (brief) story says nothing about Amazon actions, you hope Amazon suspended him at some point, but seeing how the police had to step in, maybe not.

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There’s almost certainly more to the story here than what was published.

Like, how many cease and desists were ignored, how many additional seller accounts were created after ones were suspended, etc.

Also like, what happened to his eyebrows? :rofl:

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All jokes aside, this is scary. Not only is it dangerous for the consumers but what happens when the government steps in. I know ASV has said it before and I agree there is a lot of junk supplements/pills on Amazon but if you can’t even trust something you thought was from Nestle. :grimacing:

Amazon’s kind of a bad place to buy supplements, and this reason is only the tip of the iceberg.

What’s far worse is the millions and millions of units that Amazon’s not storing properly, and they also don’t manage expiration dates well. Lots of supplement products have reviews complaining about expired products, and part of that is FBA warehouses don’t do first-in-first-out so products can sit around (at excessive temperature levels no less) for a very long time.

I have seen a supplement where the contents of the capsules was moldy, and it wasn’t because it was fake, it was most likely exposed to high heat/humidity for an extended period of time.

For a consumable item, you generally want to look at the product (I’m sure this guy’s “product” had a bunch of red flags if you actually look at it), check the expiration date, and also know that it’s been stored properly

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Searching online, I came across a similar Store name selling similar things, but in a different state. These two feedback jumped out at me immediately:

Hmm, the random spice sounds more like they received a completely different item from what they ordered. And the other one sounds like the product was damaged.

I looked up the gutconnect product though. The cheapest price is by a seller called “Cheeky Cheeks”

Don’t think I want to buy a consumable from a business choosing that as their name.

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These two feedback from the same Seller in the same week? I sure as **** am not going to buy anything (especially!) consumable from them, for myself or my family.

You are certainly free to roll your own dice.

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I don’t buy ANY consumables from Amazon, period.

Just saying that seller probably isn’t selling knock offs, but they have other quality control problems with their products.

I would rather order my vitamins from Mckesson, Amerisource, or purchase them from our wholesale side since they order direct.

Too much time on Amazon means I do not trust vitamins or other supplements sourced elsewhere. Maybe I am simply jaded by the original two Amazon forums and the supplement postings there?

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You and me both!

But if I’m uncertain or looking for something specific, I consult @ASV_Vites, personally.

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Or maybe you are SMART.

It’s impossible to distinguish what’s legit on Amazon and Amazon enables scam sellers just like this one to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

I can’t remember the last time Amazon asked us for a piece of documentation. Further, they announced that they were rolling out a program on documentation to verify every single item being sold in the category 2 years ago. IT NEVER HAPPENED. Just vanished into thin air.

We’ve bought and tested some of the no-name products in our category and every single one of them failed. When reported to Amazon, do you think they care? THEY DON’T.

Look the other way and just point to their lack-luster policies of trust that are in place to supposedly police the category. It’s all BS!

Amazon’s restrictions / qualifiers in other categories (THAT YOU DON’T PUT INSIDE YOUR BODY) are much stricter. Anyone off the street can sell their “brand” of supplements on Amazon without a problem and set up shop in a couple days. That’s scary. I couldn’t believe how easy it was when we got started. Walmart was even easier so shame on them too.

Here’s the difference when it comes to us. We are professionals. I spent 20 years at Nature’s Bounty and my business partner owns a sizeable 4-decade old contract manufacturing company that manufacturers supplements for the biggest brands in the industry, including Nature’s Bounty. Pro-Tip - Nature’s Bounty doesn’t make all of their own products like they claim… That’s how I connected with my business partner (from my past life).

Honestly, I thought we would be competing with businesses like ourselves that do it all right and exceed every FDA regulation there is. The reality is we compete with sellers in their basements who have relationships with shady manufacturers, making the lowest quality junk there is.

Our base margins on all of our products that are priced (MSRP) at a minimum of 20% lower than anyone else is 80+% but in order to compete with all of these schmucks that price their crap less than what it costs to make and then bid for the top spot in PPC, our margins get whittled down to nothing. Not nothing, but it’s not great so all it becomes is a volume game.

This is the precise reason why we are doing everything we can to leverage our connections and offer our premium products (at unbeatable values) to top-tier retailers so we can get the hell off the corrupt dumpster fire that is Amazon… We’ve invested an incredible amount of time and $ in 2023 to button ourselves up to make ourselves look like the professionals that we are.

Yes, I’m still thankful that Amazon exists and has provided a decent living for the last few years but we’ve done what we set out to accomplish on Amazon. Prove a concept, build a couple brands, gather data, and get consumer feedback.

Make a long story short:
If you take supplements and shop on Amazon, never, EVER buy a brand that isn’t on the store shelves at Vitamin Shoppe / CVS, and the like.

I wouldn’t be overly concerned about this particular counterfeit situation with this moron. This is rare and the crap he knocked off was crap to begin with…

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The real problem isn’t people falsifying another brand’s label. It’s the brand owners lying on their own labels.

Even retail stores aren’t safe. There’s a bunch of articles out there about GNC’s own branded products failing, and products pulled off shelves in almost any major retail store not turning up what the label said they did.

You need to do your own research and determine if the brand you’re buying is reputable or not. To be fair though, you don’t need to be overly paranoid about getting sick either. If you’ve ever eaten fast food (or even a lot of restaurants in general) there’s a pretty good chance your food was handled in a less than sanitary way. But if you care about whether the label claims are accurate (and you should), then some homework is necessary.

The problem is, a lot of people have crap diets, are too lazy to fix their crap diet, and think they can take some magic pills to solve all their health problems. Those same people are obviously too lazy to bother figuring out which brands are reliable and which aren’t. Tons of people also could care less about eating unsanitary fast food all the time, so whether a supplement is quality or not isn’t a concern either. Supplements are supposed to be PART of a healthy diet, not a pill to fix a terrible one.

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I call a ton of BS on stories like that about GNC and other REAL brands. There’s no way.

Testing supplements isn’t as easy as you think and there are established methods that brands set for their particular formulations and those methods vary. One size does not fit all which is why when a story like this comes out, brands often rebut it with their own testing that proves the label claim being met with one particular test method or another. It’s very complex, believe me. The media never reports that part of the story but the CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) does and they are not a group that can be influenced.

No kidding!

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GNC definitely did not properly screen the stuff on their shelves:

As for the other reports that I’ve seen, yes, that’s only one side of the story, and I don’t understand how the testing works so I won’t go too deep into that convo.

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Also, one other thing I want to point out about this. The FDA doesn’t even regulate supplements. The whole industry is basically self-regulated by brand owners and a few certifying organizations (which very few brands partake in). Yes the FDA has the authority to take action against mislabeled products, but how many times do they actually do it? If a law isn’t enforced at all then it doesn’t really exist.

Amazon probably realized that the reason why the FDA doesn’t do anything is because it’s too expensive and too complicated to properly regulate the entire industry, and once they started requesting documents they probably realized that this is gonna cost Amazon a fortune to actually review all of them so they just said forget it, if the FDA wants to actually do their job then they can do it themselves.
It’d also be pretty hard to hold Amazon (or another marketplace) liable for false supplement label claims when the govt agency responsible for policing it doesn’t do it themselves. So at the end of the day the incentive to screen sellers just doesn’t exist.

Have you tried reporting your findings to the FDA? Legally they’re supposed to do something about it, but I’m willing to bet they won’t respond to you either.

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:laughing:

Because :arrow_heading_down:

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