Fake vs Real
Written by Gavin on 2nd December 2016
As the festive shopping frenzy continues and Facebook continues to be one of the UK’s fastest-growing market places, Rhondda Cynon Taf Trading Standards are urging shoppers to be aware.
In the difficult economic climate, money is tight for many and we all love a bargain, but sometimes you end up wasting money on an item that is not the real article, and can even be dangerous
Millions of low-quality counterfeit products flood the country in time for Christmas, particularly in markets, car boot sales and online.
Criminals will deliberately copy well-known brands – sometimes even charging a similar price – but beware; these fakes can pose a serious risk to consumers’ safety.
The external appearance and packaging of electrical goods such as chargers and hair straighteners may be copied fairly well, but the internal composition and materials are likely to be botched and could make the item very dangerous.
Fakes which shoppers are particularly warned about this Christmas are:
mobile phones, and their accessories– the charger could be dangerous
Ipads and Ipods– the charger could be dangerous
Video game consoles – the charger could be dangerous
Video games (Playstation and Xbox) – often contain viruses
DVDs and CDs
Children’s clothing – may be flammable or have hazardous fastenings
Clothing and Footwear – Superdry , Hollister, Jack Wills, Ugg and Vans
Children’s toys and action figures, which may have loose parts or contain toxic materials (Disney Frozen products).
Perfumes, cosmetics and personal care items – Designer perfumes and Mac make up
Alcoholic drinks – high levels of methanol can be lethal
Cigarettes – added health risks from excessive levels of tar and contamination with other substances
Christmas lights and batteries
Cllr Joy Rosser, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Prosperity, Wellbeing and Communities, said:
“Earlier this year I was proud to help present out Trading Standards Team with a national award for their work to deal with those who sell fake designer and brand name items, particularly on social media.
“As a result of that award-winning work, a number of RCT residents were prosecuted, fined and had their stock seized.
“The message from Trading Standards this year is the same as always, have a safe, legal Christmas and only by from reputable or accredited sellers.
“At best your bargain buy could turn out to be a copied DVD which is fuzzy or a “designer” hoodie that falls to pieces after the first wash.
“But fake items can be dangerous, especially electrical items such as hair dryers, straighteners and shavers. They rarely meet the national standards that are in place for a reason- to protect the safety of consumers.
“While you may pay more for the genuine article in a reputable or accredited shop, you can be sure you are getting what you pay for and there are numerous consumer protection laws available for you to use if you are not happy with your purchase.
“You will also be supporting the business of a local person, who is working hard to offer legal, high-quality goods in order to support themselves, their family and the local community.”
“If you feel you have been sold a fake or dangerous item, please contact Trading Standards.”
Tips for a fake-free Christmas:
Always beware of offers that seem too good to be true – they probably are.
Shoppers should be extra vigilant at markets, discount stores and car boot sales. A new campaign – The Real Deal – which is supported by the Trading Standards Institute has been developed to help consumers choose markets and stalls that have been vetted by trading standards. Markets covered by the Real Deal charter can be found at www.realdealmarkets.co.uk
If you are shopping online, watch out for unfamiliar sites. Main areas of risk are auction sites and entirely fake websites. It is always best to stick to familiar brand-name or retailer websites. You can also use search engines to research a website to see if people have had problems with them. Shoppers should be aware that a site ending .co.uk does not mean the trader is based in the UK. A seller based abroad can often be impossible to trace.
Social Media sites are now becoming ever popular as a sales platform for counterfeit goods particularly clothing, footwear and cosmetics.
Poor quality packaging with mis-spelled words, or no origin or safety marks. These are tell-tale sign of a fake.
For further advice on your rights contact Citizens Advice Consumer Services, a government-backed telephone and online consumer advice service that works in partnership with the local authority Trading Standards Services, on 08454 04 05 06.
If you have any information on IP crime please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.