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Home > Blog > Worried that you received counterfeit goods? Here’s how to tell
Nov 25, 2018
Worried that you received counterfeit goods? Here’s how to tell

iphoneAcross the UK, thousands of counterfeit goods are sold to unsuspecting buyers each year. Not only does buying counterfeit goods help fund crime, but it may harm your health as well. For example, counterfeit sunglasses likely provide less than adequate protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays, and counterfeit electrical products may increase the risk of fire or electrocution. Here are some valuable tips on identifying counterfeit goods to keep your health and wallet safe from sub-par products.

Beware of Prices That are Too Good to be True

If the price of a product seems too good to be true, such as a Rolex being sold for £20, more often than not, it is. So, do not be suckered into believing you are receiving a great deal. Counterfeit goods are commonly sold at very tempting prices. Beware of deals that are considerably below the retail value of a product. If a £100 product is being sold for £10, it is more than likely counterfeit.

Examine the Product and the Packaging

First of all, check the packaging of the product. A product that should be expensive will not come in plastic wrap or without a logo. So, research the product you are planning on buying beforehand. Does it have any distinguishing features, such as holograms? Also, examine the labels of every product you are thinking of buying. Often, counterfeit goods will have misspelled labels or other nuances that reveal their counterfeit nature.

Research the Web

Any Google search can reveal hundreds of discussions geared towards helping consumers tell the difference between real and counterfeit goods. While performing your research, try typing in the make, model, and serial number of the item into Google, especially if the item is particularly valuable. You may find that someone else has already published information about the counterfeit item online as a warning for fellow consumers.

Consider Where the Item is Being Purchased

Only purchase items from reputable retailers. Never expect to purchase a designer handbag or high-end technology from a market stall or street vendor. Instead, try to buy from authorised product sellers or directly from the manufacturer’s official website. If you are buying from a trader, always ask if they offer an after-sales guarantee or support, because the majority of rogue traders will not.

If you bought an item from an online store not directly affiliated with its manufacturer, check out the website brand-i.org. The site is a partner of the Trading Standards Institute, and it lists reputable online stores that only sell genuine products. If you bought from an unknown online seller, look for feedback on both the seller and the product they are selling.

Contact the Manufacturer

In most cases, manufacturers can help you determine if an item is counterfeit or not based upon its serial numbers, unique product characteristics, authorised distribution channels, and other factors. In some cases, manufacturers can also help you determine if an item has been stolen based upon such information. The majority of modern manufacturers have websites that provide their contact information, and many of them are interested in learning about possible fraud cases related to their products.

Seek an Expert Opinion

Some goods, such as antiques, art, and collectibles, cannot be found in consumer goods databases and do not have uniform manufacturing practices and serial numbers like automobiles or mobile phones. For these types of goods, experts or appraisers can help you determine if you have a genuine or counterfeit item. In addition to being able to tell you whether an item is counterfeit or not, with extremely rare or valuable items, appraisers and collectors are also able to tell if an item has been recently stolen.

Avoid Sites Outside of the UK

If you purchase a counterfeit product from a website that is not based in the UK, receiving a refund may be an impossible task, because the country of the site may have different rules than the UK. Just because a website displays product prices in Sterling, has an address that ends in .uk, or has a UK phone number listed does not mean that the seller is based in the UK. If a website seems suspicious, go to the who.is website to find out who the domain belongs to.

Most of the time, if you purchase counterfeit goods, you should make sure that you have at least contacted the manufacturers of the real items and law enforcement, so they can take the necessary steps to find the seller and reduce the number of counterfeit goods circulating throughout the UK. First and foremost, however, you should contact your credit card company to receive a credit card chargeback, allowing you to receive the money back that was spent on the goods. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a faulty product and a lighter wallet.

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