TRADING Standards is campaigning against counterfeit products in a national wakeup call they are pioneering across the country.
With Christmas fast approaching, the temptation to go for a deal, even if it seems a little dodgy, is there, but luckily the campaign is here to help.
Jingle bells, this deal smells
“Strolling through the stalls,
Five presents on each arm.
You’re almost done, but then you see,
A steal, so what’s the harm?
Perfume that‘s just cheap,
A really cute keepsake
These prices are too good to miss,
But are these just a fake?
Should I risk my life?
Mock-up, dummy, forgery…
Is it worth the strife?
Is it worth the danger?
There are a lot of fakes about,
So don’t buy from a stranger!”
Counterfeit goods cost the UK around £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes.
The low-cost approach of most counterfeiting operations means that the quality of the products is likely to be very poor, with a shorter lifespan than the real, legitimate product. Such products will generally not meet required safety standards, putting everyone that buys them at significant risk.
Counterfeit electronic products are potential fire hazards to your family and home. Don’t ruin #Christmas2017 and avoiding them. Watch the 7th in this festive @The_IPO series https://t.co/2V0TZBDwXp #buyreal pic.twitter.com/nnKLwpciaF
— Salford City Council (@SalfordCouncil) December 6, 2017
This year’s Christmas must-have toy, Fingerlings, made national news just last week as stock shortages sent desperate parents into the arms of counterfeit traders with cheap, potentially dangerous fakes that could cause serious harm to anyone that handles them.
Aside from the often sloppy craft, a cheap deal can have frightening consequences.
Counterfeit makeup is a very popular choice, but little is it known that it can contain lead, copper, mercury, arsenic or cadmium and can cause a series of awful consequences like swelling, rashes and even poisoning.
With the possibility of real products to be very expensive, turning to a much cheaper, fake version seems like a good idea, but it definitely isn’t.
Fake alcohol is a popular buy among young people, but it can contain methanol, antifreeze and fuel, causing nausea, stomach pains, kidney or liver problems, coma or even death.
Unofficial children’s merchandise such as toys and dressing-up clothes could pose numerous hazards with small loose parts, long cords and materials that are toxic or not in conformity with the fire-retardant standards.
Fake electrical goods and chargers are poor quality products and can be missing components, which leads to electric shocks, fires and even explosions.
Trading Services believes that the profits made from counterfeit sales can go to fund larger criminal operations, including organised crime and even terrorism.
The organisation carries out intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting work the whole year round, but with their resources stretched out so far, these counterfeit products continue to slip through the net.
Leon Livermore, Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Chief Executive, said: “CTSI members are passionate about consumer protection, but are struggling in the face of savage cuts to public services. Give your local trading standards a Christmas present this year and write to your MP to stop further cuts that could ruin future Christmases for all of us.
“If a price seems too good to be true then it likely is; don’t get sucked in by crazy deals.”
If you have unwittingly bought fake goods or know of anyone who sells counterfeit goods, report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506. They will refer your case to the relevant trading standards authority.