ECC-Net regularly receives complaints from consumers who, either consciously or not, purchased counterfeit items. Consumers who buy fake products can be exposed to different risks such as:
- The quality of counterfeit products is not guaranteed. They may pose safety or health risks to consumers. Toys, medicine and cosmetics may contain harmful ingredients.
- Customs may intercept and destroy packages containing counterfeit goods. As a consequence, consumers don’t receive the order they paid for.
- Right holders may bill the costs related to the destruction of the fake goods.
- Who can you turn to when your counterfeit products become defective? Traders who sell fake goods do not usually respect your guarantee rights.
Tips on how to avoid buying fake products
To help consumers avoid falling into this trap and to help mark the launch of its report, ECC-Net has put together some tips on how to spot counterfeits online:
- Check the identity of the seller
- Search for other consumers’ reviews
- Check whether the website benefits from a trust mark
- Assess the general layout of the website
- Check your consumer rights on the trader’s website
- Check the picture of the product
- Watch the price of the good
- Check the official website of the brand for authorised and blacklisted sellers
- Pay with a secured means of payment
- Pay attention to refurbished product
Report counterfeit goods
Here’s our tips on what to do if you bought counterfeit products online:
- Contact the seller in writing. Explain that your order has been confiscated by customs, that you don’t wish for a replacement product but want a reimbursement of the total price.
- If you paid by card you may contact heck your bank or card issuer to see if you are eligible for reimbursement through chargeback.
- If you suspect fraud, report the necessary information to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
- Contact the official brand and inform them of the counterfeit products. As the brand holds the patent rights it may investigate such fraudulent sites.