Birkenstock’s CEO Rails Against Amazon for Selling ‘Fake Goods’

Birkenstock Arizona sandal
Birkenstock Arizona sandal
Courtesy of Famous Footwear

Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reicher slammed Amazon Friday for failing to crack down on the sale of counterfeit goods on its site.

The truth is that Amazon makes money with these fakes,” Birkenstock chief executive Oliver Reichert told German newspaper Spiegel News Weekly, according to the AFP. “As far we’re concerned, Amazon is an accomplice.

If you sell dodgy merchandise on your marketplace, you have to answer for that,” added Reichert.

His comments came on the heels of Birkenstock’s announcement this month that it would halt direct deliveries on Amazon in Europe beginning Jan. 1.

The Germany-based shoemaker has lodged a series of complaints against Amazon. Birkenstock specifically alleged that the e-tailer allowed sales on its site that violated Birkenstock trademark rights — the brand has a trademark on its cork-soled sandals — and misled consumers.

Birkenstock Americas CEO David Kahan has been vocal about his frustrations with Amazon. Kahan severed ties with the e-tailer in January 2017, pulling the direct sale of Birkenstock products — as well as all sales from third parties — on the site in the United States. And Kahan’s concerns rose following news in July that Amazon would buy products from third parties at full price and sell them on the site.

“This is modern-day piracy on the high seas,” Kahan said then in an e-mail. “How can a major retailer who is not a vendor’s partner solicit and entice authorized partners to sell them via a back channel?”

Despite its tense relationship with Amazon, Birkenstock continues to do well. The company was recognized at the Footwear News Achievement Awards as Brand of the Year, and it has developed a loyal fan base.