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UK European Consumer Centre

World Consumer Rights Day - Part 2

10 tips for spotting counterfeit goods10 ways to spot counterfeits on the internet

It used to be that scammers targeted the luxury market but now counterfeit products have now become available to all consumer products.  Goods such as medicine, cosmetics, children's toys and branded clothing, to name but a few, are easily accessible thanks to the World Wide Web.  The ECC-Net receives many complaints from consumers who, either consciously or not, purchase counterfeit items.  To help consumers to spot a dodgy website here are 10 things to look out for:

  1. When using search engines to look for certain products beware of phrases such as "cheap" or "free shipping" as this can be an indication the site is fraudulent.
  2. Verify the identity of the seller's contact details by searching the legal information or terms and conditions section of their website.
  3. Look online for reviews of the seller's website.
  4. Verify any trust certificates on their website by contacting the certifier directly.
  5. Check with the brand holder to see if they have a list of approved re-sellers or known list of counterfeit sites.
  6. Compare the prices of the seller's website with that of the official seller or high street retailer.  If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  7. Compare the brands official logo with the one on the goods on the sellers website.  Do they match?
  8. Check the terms and conditions on the sellers website to see if they mention the applicable laws that protect you as a consumer.
  9. Beware of websites that have a poor design, broken English or poor quality images.
  10. Secure your payment!  Always give preference to methods of payment that offer extra protection, like a credit card.

What happens if I have already received counterfeit goods?

  • Check with your bank or card issuer for any chargeback or such like schemes available to you to get a reimbursement.
  • Report the website to Actionfraud for intelligence.
  • Contact the official brand holder to report the activity of the seller's website.
To view the complete guide on what to look out for when buying goods online please click the link - Counterfeit Goods guide 




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