eCommerce Blog / Uncovered: The shocking truth about counterfeit goods!

Uncovered: The shocking truth about counterfeit goods!

What’s a Counterfeit?

A counterfeit is quite simply a copy or imitation that someone knowingly passes off as the real thing. Counterfeits are also called pirated goods, bogus products, knock-offs…and fakes!

Counterfeit items replicate not only the product design but trademarked features such as the logo and brand name. Counterfeit goods break intellectual property laws and are thus illegal.

Counterfeit merchandise is often confused with ‘designer inspired’ items, but they are not quite the same thing. Although designer inspired items look similar to the genuine article, they don’t include a logo or brand name. This usually means that designer inspired items are able to be bought and resold legally, although it depends on who you talk to!

7 good reasons to avoid counterfeit goods

So what’s the big deal about not getting the real deal?

Consumer Direct
lists the following reasons why you should steer clear of knock-offs.

  1. The goods may be dangerous. From fake medication that fails to kick in during that next asthma attack, to fake auto parts that fail to function properly in an emergency situation… you may be putting yourself, your loved ones and your buyers at risk when you use or sell counterfeit products.
  2. Many fake goods finance organized crime, and even terrorists. In 2007, counterfeiting was a USD 650 billion industry. This fact has not escaped crime syndicates and terrorists looking for sources of funding. There’s certainly a lot of money in fakes – but before you place your order, consider who you might inadvertently be financing!
  3. You may end up paying higher taxes. Somebody has to shoulder the taxes on all goods, but don’t count on the counterfeiters doing that for you.
  4. Fakes cost people their jobs. Workers at the legitimate factories may lose their jobs because the real producers can’t compete with the fakes.
  5. You’ll probably end up shouldering a ton after-sales support. Or worse, you can be held accountable for any user mishaps causing harm or damage.
  6. Knock-offs deprive the copyright owner of income that can be used to fund new development. If Microsoft hadn’t been obssessive about protecting its turf, we’d probably be stuck using Windows 3.1.
  7. The US Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol are very aggressive in protecting intellectual property. They will seize any goods bearing trademarks or copyrights that do not have the proper authorization.

Watching Out for Fakes When Purchasing Online

eBay is currently embroiled in several court cases with a number of luxury brands who feel that the online retail giant isn’t doing enough to stop the sale and auction of counterfeit items. Here are some tips to protect you from fakes while using online wholesalers.

  1. This will sound like a tired cliché by now, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Assume designer items are fakes. Then demand that the supplier prove otherwise. All genuine items will come with official documentation.
  3. Be careful of your sources, and check them thoroughly, especially if they are based in Asia.
  4. Check the return policy. If the supplier doesn’t have one, it’s a warning sign.
  5. Watch out for other scams. The goods themselves may not be the only dubious thing about the transaction.
  6. Use PayPal or Visa. If the supplier insists on cash, then it’s a signal for you to suspect that something’s amiss!


Comments (3)

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Nay on 4:38 30 Jan
Also be careful when using your clothing supplier's photos on ebay. Depending on who your suppliers are, they may say yes to you using the photos but they may not own the copyright license to the photos. A lot of Asian suppliers will do this and you can get in trouble if you use a photo owned by Dream Girl or another big name brand to sell a similar product. If they find out that your stock is from a supplier other than one of their approved suppliers, and you are using their photos, they class it as counterfiet goods and can take legal action. They may also seek to conferscate your stock so please be very aware of this. My advice to overcome this is to always take your own photos and never ever state the brand name of a garment unless you are 100% sure that it is genuine.
Janet on 18:49 31 Jan
I would like to emphatically support the warnings above. From a recent experience. I had to learn the hard way. I unknowingly listed luxury brand replica items in my Ebay store. Under the impression that these items were legitimate. Make long story short. I had fabulous sales, just to have to refund them all. I had to explain to my customers what the situation was. Have my listings removed from Ebay. My sellers account suspended and a threatening letter from the company who's intellectual property and trademark laws I had violated.In order for my account to be reactivated. I was required to take a tutorial about these laws. It was a humiliating experience. Trust me ... I LEARNED my humiliating and expensive lesson. I won't make that mistake again. I hope that my story will help others from making the same mistake I did. In the long run, taking the chance, is just not worth it. janetlea896360
Ken on 12:48 1 Feb
As Janet states, "Don't Do It!" ... Because you can and likely will suffer consequences much greater than any gain ... For the most part, counterfeiters are short term ... they grab and get before they can be apprehended ... they stand behind nothing, leaving your to cover the mess ... But, even more, those suppliers are likely non-legitimate businesses as well ... we all need to do our best to support the honest entrepreneurs, that honestly acquire and distribute their products ... those that honestly employee people with families and contribute to society ... Grow your business for the long haul ... regards ... Ken


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