The hunt for generous discounts and deals is a lifelong pursuit only accentuated further over holidays like Christmas traditionally associated with gifting and rewarding yourself.
This is according to Kholofelo Ramokgopa, of law firm Spoor & Fisher, who said that the cheaper price tags of branded clothes, shoes, toys and even your favourite make-up would well be a deception.
The end of the year is a busy time for fraudsters – who exploit the fact that you are distracted and will do anything to find a bargain, she said.
Ramokgopa cited the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018 which found that online sales of fake goods accounted for 31% of total counterfeiting-related losses in 2017.
Counterfeiting was estimated to have been responsible for losses of $98-billion in the high-end consumer goods sector, with online counterfeiting making up $30.3-billion of the total.
Across all industries, total losses due to counterfeiting in 2017 was a staggering $1.2-trillion and is expected to reach $1.82-trillion by 2020. Online counterfeiting accounted for $323-billion worth of losses last year.
“With the level of sophistication that counterfeiters are using on their websites and in their manufacturing, consumer knowledge and awareness is key to avoid being duped and containing the scourge of counterfeits,” she said.
“In layman terms, counterfeit goods, also known as pirate goods or knock-offs are goods that are produced without the authority of the intellectual property right owner and are often not in accordance with the required quality standards.
“The primary objective of the counterfeiters is to deceive consumers into believing that they are purchasing genuine goods.”
With the lines between fine and fake goods getting closer, Ramokgopa outlined a few practical measures you can take to avoid buyer’s remorse this Christmas.
- Price: The golden rule is that if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Quality: All brand holders and especially those often targeted by counterfeiters, take pride in the quality of their products. If you are buying it at a store, please make sure you are familiar with this checklist to distinguish between a genuine and a counterfeit product.
- Spelling mistakes: Most counterfeit products are manufactured in countries where English not the first language for example China. Check for spelling or grammatical errors on products if you are not too sure of the source or the store.
- Barcodes: Some products will have a code on the packaging as well as on the product. This is particularly so for perfumes. Generally, these codes on the product and packaging should correspond. Should these codes not correspond it is likely that it is not a genuine product.
- Online Stores: Genuine stores have secure internet addresses and usually look like this – https:// and appear green in the browser. If the online store you have clicked on, does not start with it, best not to proceed as the payment might not be secure. Furthermore, fake sites do not offer reliable contact numbers nor a physical address.