We provide our top tips for avoiding the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Counterfeit Trap:
Look out for cheap pricing
Often, if a price seems too good to be true it probably is.
Shoppers who come across a designer item at a significantly reduced price online could be forgiven for choosing to save some funds in the lead up to the festive season. However, they also need to be realistic about the price point for such an item.
The price which is set by the original designer reflects a number of factors including production time, labour, material costs, importing, brand worth and so on. Therefore, if an item is sold at a significantly reduced price, this may signify that those steps were not factored into this item’s creation.
Watch out for these on seller websites
The type of website from which the item is sold could also be an indicator. For example; bagging a bargain from a site which features misspellings, excessive pop ups, or doesn’t appear professionally created could be a warning sign.
While this doesn’t always indicate a counterfeit product, caution should be exercised if this is an established brand being sold at a dramatically lower price.
Sticking to licensed retailers and authorised sellers helps to entirely eradicate the risk of a counterfeit purchase. If in doubt, don’t make the purchase. Always use an established seller who has clear address and contact details.
Be mindful of packaging and design irregularities
Many established brands have achieved success thanks to their instantly recognisable and much-loved packaging and branding.
However, counterfeit goods are often unable to accurately replicate the packaging and design standards of the established brand, as they simply don’t have the resources or funding to do so.
As such, it is quite common for fake items to look almost identical to the original, but not quite. Legitimate brands pride themselves and invest huge sums into packaging and design. As such bad packaging is often a tell-tale sign that you’ve purchased a fake.
Issues such as the item not fitting in the packaging properly, cheap materials which are discoloured or damaged, or spelling or grammatical mistakes on the packaging are warning signs. Slight design deviations, or repositioning of key design elements on the packaging are also a good indicator.
Take a look at seller reviews
Online selling platforms such as Amazon and eBay attract millions of legitimate sellers and buyers every day.
As two of the world’s most utilised retail sites they both have stringent policies in place to protect buyers against purchasing counterfeit goods. One such safeguard which the sites have implemented is seller reviews. While these are often overlooked by potential buyers, they can prove to be an invaluable indicator as to that individual’s selling activity, authenticity, and interaction with customers.
However, even these in themselves can be a sign that the product is fake. While seller reviews can provide a more realistic insight into a seller’s activity, caution should be used. Increasingly we are seeing more and more fake reviews which provide an overly positive picture of the seller, or paid-for reviews. If a slew of overly positive reviews is written for the item in a short period of time this could indicate that it is not real.
Always make secure payments
Established websites and shops will always ensure their customers are able to pay securely.
This not only provides customers with confidence in the legitimacy of what they are purchasing, but also the company with which they are interacting.
Being able to spot a legitimate payment source is determined in the website address. If a website address begins with https when payment is being taken, this demonstrates that the payment is secure.
Without this, the payment may be unsecured and therefore the buyer’s financial details may be vulnerable to being shared. We would also urge customers to NEVER enter their pin details online or click any suspicious pop ups asking for bank detail confirmation.
With shoppers set to spend huge amounts of money this weekend, we would urge them to be cautious of any online offers which seem too good to be true – as they are likely to be just that. Shoppers may be surprised to learn they have purchased a counterfeit item from a seemingly trustworthy source. Counterfeit goods not only leave shoppers unhappy, they also divert funds away from the legitimate brand, which has invested time and money into developing its product. By infringing the established brand’s intellectual property rights in this manner, counterfeiters can have a devastating impact across the retail market. Ultimately shoppers grabbing a Christmas bargain this weekend, should be particularly cautious that they have not been targeted by someone seeking to sell them a counterfeit item.