According to KPMG, over £116 million of fake goods were prosecuted in the UK in the last 2 years! Their research found that 39 cases involved £116 million of counterfeit and pirated products. Over half of the goods were pirated media.
The range also included hair straighteners, perfume, fake tobacco, event tickets and branded goods including fake football shirts and other branded clothing.
Consumers wishing to live a designer lifestyle on a knock down budget are driving demand for the counterfeit items. However, according to police, the “true cost” was shown in a fire that broke out in north-west London, in May 2018. The London Fire Brigade said it believe an unbranded mobile phone charger caused the fire.
Where can you find counterfeit products for sale?
The internet has allowed many small businesses to reach a wide market that previously was impossible. Obviously, this has been a massive to both consumer and business owner. Unfortunately, this has also benefited counterfeiters wanting to reach the same market. Figure released by the British police have shut down 31,000 websites in an attempt to stop the spread of counterfeit products.
Is selling counterfeit products a victimless crime?
Nobody is being assaulted and you are getting a bargain; right? Wrong. Counterfeit products are cheap because they are inferior. Consequently, there is a very real risk to peoples’ health and damage legitimate businesses’ reputations.
The City of London Police unit pointed to a June 2018 report from consumer protection charity Electrical Safety First, which found that 30% of those surveyed had been duped by a counterfeit electrical item bought online but advertised as genuine.
How can counterfeiters be stopped?
In addition to shutting down websites selling counterfeit products, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) launched a campaign using the hashtag #shockingfakes to highlight the dangers of buying counterfeit electrical goods.
Consumers can also protect themselves from becoming a victim to counterfeiters by following some simple rules:
- If a product is sold out everywhere, but you see it for sale at a bargain price, it is probably too good to be true.
- Pay attention to which site you purchase from;counterfeiters do not pay as much attention to grammar and spelling.
- Counterfeiters often use web-based email addresses like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo.
- Make sure your transaction is secure. Look for HTTPS:// and a lock at the bottom of your browser. Whilst it is not a guarantee that the site is genuine, counterfeiters are less likely to use these safeguards.
What happens to seized counterfeit products?
There are some instances where it is appropriate to recycle or remove brand-identifying labels from counterfeit products. These “de-branded”items can be donated to charities. For instance, the charity International Aid Trust has sent de-branded clothing to people needing aid in the Ukraine and other countries needing aid.
Donating de-branded items is only an option where the items are safe and appropriate. This leaves the challenge of what do to do with unsafe products. In these instances, shredding or destruction ensures that counterfeit items are permanently removed from circulation; thereby protecting public safety and the brand owner’s reputation.