Be Wary When Buying Branded Goods Online

Suffolk Trading Standards is warning consumers to beware of companies and individuals on social networking websites selling cheap branded goods, and to be cautious of websites that look like they may be genuine.

Every year Trading Standards receives floods of complaints from consumers who have unwittingly purchased counterfeit goods online thinking that they are getting a genuine bargain. Often goods are described as genuine and are offered at discounted prices accompanied by photographs of the real thing. Unfortunately however, when the goods arrive they are often poor quality replicas, cheaply made in the far east. There are numerous copycat websites which to shoppers appear to be the brands own website, but are in fact set up by rogues to sell counterfeit products or to take consumers money with no intention of sending out the goods.

Trading Standards works closely with E-Crime units that take down hundreds of counterfeit websites each year. The problem is also prevalent on internet auction sites and more recently on social networking sites such as Facebook. Trading Standards has seen an alarming increase in the number of complaints relating to sales via Facebook where individuals are selling counterfeit goods on their own profile pages or through group pages set up for individual towns and cities. The seller generally requests contact using private a message function and arranges to deliver goods or meet the buyer in a public place.

Counterfeit goods are not only of inferior quality but there are serious safety concerns particularly in relation to electrical items such as GHD hair straighteners, mobile phone chargers and other devices whose electrical safety may have never been checked.

Penalties for selling counterfeit goods are an unlimited fine and up to 10 years imprisonment. It is also a “lifestyle offence” which means that financial investigations can be conducted and may ultimately lead to confiscation of any monies or other assets generated from selling counterfeit goods.

How to check that you are buying from a genuine retailer

Use the Brand-i shopping directory to help you find popular designer or branded clothing, perfume, shoes, music, sunglasses, etc. You can trust the online stores listed as they have been provided with the consent of the brands themselves.

What to do if you have purchased fake goods

Report it!! Contact us on 03454 040506.

About suffolktradingstandards
Suffolk Trading Standards is working towards creating and fair and safe trading environment. By creating empowered consumers, that are armed with the knowledge to stop 'rogue traders'.

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