Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations of ‘Sellers Playbook’ on Amazon.com for fraudulent business practices would receive full support and co-operation from the e-commerce giant, according to the latest media updates.
Sellers Playbook run by a Minnesota-based couple, Jessie and Matthew Tieva, was accused of falsely claiming to help sellers on the platform to make ‘more money.’
False Scheme by Sellers Playbook
Both the FTC and the Minnesota government have filed charges against the couple. The duo despite not being members of the affiliate program with Amazon.com claimed their ambitious ‘opportunity’ would assist and help large businesses with “get rich scheme.” The scheme was an unsubstantiated marketing system which falsely promised affiliates they would ‘enable’ purchasers of their scheme to make ‘more money’ by selling products on the e-platform.
In their accusation, the state of Minnesota and the regulatory body have complained the accused engaged in luring consumers to invest in their alleged business opportunity by purchasing the system. The deceptive scheme promised buyers that it would be a turnkey package and would be completely delivered by Sellers Playbook. The scheme would make it very easy for businesses to get a ‘piece of the $400 billion Amazon pie.’
Contrary to the claims by the peddlers of the scheme, no purchase could achieve the announced earnings. In reality, many lost money on the scheme. On an average, a single consumer was found to have paid as much as $32,000 to buy the ‘Seller Program.’
At the same time, the only people who did make money from the venture were the couple. In just over a year between April 2017 and May of 2018, their income exceeded that of $15 million.
How did the business work?
According to the court filings by the FTC Tieva owned an older business called ‘Exposure Marketing Company’ which was also popular as ‘Sellers online’ and ‘sellers system’ through which she marketed FBA stores using a scheme very similar to the current one she was using called as ‘how to make money on Amazon.’
Even with that program also, Tevia had failed in getting buyers to make money, though she “routinely made false and unsubstantiated earnings claims during her sales presentations at FBA Stores’ live events,” according to FTC allegations.
It was only in March 2018 that the original con plan FBA stores stopped its operations. The company had reached a settlement with FTC to pay nearly $102 million and was not part of the legal suits filed separately by Amazon.com and the State of Washington, for the FBA Stores debacle.
Amazon backs FTC probe
In a countermeasure to the false claims of Sellers Playbook, Amazon has promised to co-operate with FTC officials and be part of the probe against those who “attempt to harm the selling experience,” of entrepreneurs and small businesses on the platform. The company reiterated that it would continue to invest so as to protect the integrity of the stores as well as take action against sellers and customers so as to include their working with agencies as well as law enforcement officials in protecting agencies and law enforcement.