Hot Takes: Taking the Fight to the Scammers… via the @FTC

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Have you been reading my blog & following the #HotTakes about #KindleUnlimited‘s scamming problem?

A lot of people are wondering what to do and how to fight it. I know a lot of people want to fight it, but are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation from the scammers themselves. Guess what…I’ve got a form for that. The FTC Online Complaint Form

This handy form is also useful for readers who want to do something about the regurgitated works proliferating on Kindle Unlimited, and for authors in general who want to take action.

What you should need is:

OTHER

››BOOKS AND MAGAZINES

››››OTHER/Not Applicable

››››››SKIP THE NEXT AREA

From here, you’ll have to start giving details, etc.

I had a chat with somebody at the FTC and these were the steps I was advised to take.

I think we should try this. A LOT OF US.

And by all means, yes…readers, too, because you are being cheated, too.

How, you say?  See this comment from my blog. Cassandra’s insight led me to dig into this.

I’m not a lawyer, but…
It seems to me that slapping a new title and new author name on a previously published book and then advertising it as a new, original work without any disclaimers whatsoever runs afoul of FTC regulations on consumer fraud and deception and also violates truth in advertising laws.
Might be interesting to take some of the research done on repackaged books, plus any ads or newsletters advertising them as new works, and see what the FTC thinks.
Anyone have a contact at the FTC?


Cassandra S.

Readers are being misled, intentionally. These books are being produced and packaged as new. See the various Hot Takes for more examples, although people need to start looking at more titles from these authors, and the lists from other authors mentioned by readers who uncovered this scam.

Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word Scam, to deceive

Read about my trip down the rabbit hole detailing a book that was pubbed FOUR TIMES in under 30 MONTHS.) There’s never disclosure.

You can also try reporting these to @Amazonhelp @amazon for lack of quality/etc as there is no disclosure. There have been reports made to Amazon but no action thus far.

This makes it valid as a complaint to the FTC even more valid, in my understanding by the FTC act itself, specifically:


The Federal Trade Commission Act is the primary statute of the Commission. Under this Act, as amended, the Commission is empowered among other things, to:

  • (a) prevent unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce;
  • (b) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; 
  • (c) prescribe rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive, and establishing requirements designed to prevent such acts or practices;

What else *IS* it for scammers to repackage and resell as new the same book over and over but a scam?

Scams are something the @FTC monitors, so… absolutely, we should report this… there’s the READER aspect. 

But there is another aspect. The @FTC also protects *commerce*.

That’s business, right? And writers participate in the business that is @Amazonwhether it’s through traditionally published ebooks, self-published ebooks, or small press ebooks. Kindle and the platform exists because writers supply a product readers want.

#Scammers are interfering & negatively affecting matters via unfair & deceptive practices when they use click-farms, when they pay for reviews and when they REPACKAGE & SELL USED UP MANUSCRIPTS AS NEW

@FTC has regulations AGAINST just that.

FTC Act is the primary statute of the Commission.

Under this, as amended, the Commission is empowered, among other things, to (a) prevent unfair methods of competition & unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce;

Steps are above, writers. We owe it to ourselves and fellow writers to do something about it. It’s a fricking insult to storycraft for hacks to come in and repackage a dried-up story, publish it as new & claim to be an ‘author’ while drowning out talented voices with fresh *original* stories.

If you need examples, again… visit the various Hot Takes listed on the blog. I’ve got examples on Hot Takes & Copyright Fakes or A Trip Down a Rabbit Hole You’re welcome to use them in your complaints and if you take about twenty minutes, you can spot more on Amazon, easy. One or two complaints isn’t going to do this.

This is not just a ‘romance’ genre problem either. It’s more obvious in our genre, but if it hasn’t hit your radar yet… it’s coming. And it’s not just for those who self-publish, or those who use #KindleUnlimited.

Especially since some scammers love to mis-classify their books… slapping their books in ‘heist’ or ‘thriller’ or ‘military’… when it’s just straight out romance

Get to work! These scammers are affecting us ALL because the higher up THEY go in the ebook listings, the less discoverability *legit* books have.

Big name sellers still shine through but this has affected writers as a whole and it’s making it ever harder for midlist, newer authors and those who choose small & indie publishing.

We need to fight it as a whole because it’s having a detrimental affect across all genres and if Amazon doesn’t take action, it will get worse.