The selling of counterfeit goods on the Internet, at walk-in stores, and by sidewalk vendors and door-to-door salespeople is big business. In one recent example, federal agencies in New Jersey indicted 29 people in a scheme to import $325 million in counterfeit products, including fake Burberry scarves; Lacoste shirts; Polo sweatshirts; Coach, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton handbags; Ugg boots; and Nike sneakers.
Many products you might buy are common targets for unauthorized duplication, including artwork, autographed items and other memorabilia, cosmetics and perfumes, computer software, designer clothing, jewelry, music, videos, and sporting goods.
If you buy something assuming it’s the real McCoy and it’s not, you could face several problems. Fakes might not last or perform as well as the genuine article, and they won’t be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. They might not meet safety and environmental regulations, and there’s a greater chance they’re manufactured in unsafe and abusive conditions. And, of course, you’ll probably pay way too much.
Although some sellers knowingly hawk counterfeit goods, others may be duped themselves. The auction giant eBay, for example, doesn’t allow replicas, counterfeit items, or unauthorized copies to be sold on its site. But that hasn’t prevented such items from showing up there.
The following tips will help ensure you won’t get stuck with counterfeit goods.