Munich (dpa / tmn) – About every third person in Germany has already bought counterfeit branded products. This is the result of a representative survey conducted by the consulting company EY. Most of the time, buyers said they knew or suspected what they were buying.
According to the EY “Product Piracy” study, the main reason to buy counterfeit products is the lower price of the counterfeit products. It was a decisive factor for almost three-quarters of the respondents. A quarter of buyers of counterfeit products justified the purchase by having easy access to counterfeit products.
According to the study, counterfeit clothing and accessories, as well as jewelry and watches from famous brands are especially popular with plagiarism buyers.
Counterfeit products are not always easy to spot
But how do you know the difference from the original? It is more difficult, for example, with counterfeit products on the Internet. They are often bought unknowingly and without the possibility of examining them. Not only is this stupid for the client, it can also cause them a lot of trouble.
After all: “The purchase of plagiarism is not prohibited,” says Simone Bueb of the Bavarian consumer center. “But it can cause inconvenience.” In case of suspicion, customs may confiscate the items and have the brand owner verify the authenticity of the product. This may take a long time and the buyer has to pay storage fees.
risk to the buyer
Anyone who buys even a few counterfeit products, for example ten bags at once, has to reckon with the fact that he will be reported as a professional seller. Trade in counterfeit products is prohibited.
The main problem with buyers of counterfeit products is that they are often produced under questionable conditions and are usually not inspected. Counterfeit products are often not fit for purpose – and can contain hazardous substances.
“Sunscreen without sunscreen, fire alarms that don’t work, rims that break down after a short ride, contaminated drugs with or without the wrong dosage of active ingredients – all these are shamelessly offered on the Internet,” says Plagiarius’ Christine Lacroix. “The health and even the lives of consumers are sanctioned.”
Plagiarism covers the entire spectrum. They are found in mass products as well as in high-quality goods. “Everything that is successful in the market is counterfeit,” says Lacroix. The Plagiarius campaign awards a negative price to “Plagiarius” annually for particularly brazen copies of products. In 2022, the first prize was awarded to plagiarism of a reusable cutlery set made in China by a German manufacturer.
But it also adversely affects technical products: the second prize was awarded to a counterfeit manometer, which, among other things, did not achieve the declared accuracy of the measurement. “The risk potential from improperly regulated pressure is very high, not to mention the unpredictable ensuing cost,” says Lacroix. “Users trust the high quality, functionality and safety of a branded product. Many counterfeiters even copy the test seals and thus mislead the buyer even more. ”
Click on the certificate
The user can check this when placing the order by clicking on the stamp. If it is associated with a valid certificate from the seal operator, the corresponding website opens. Without this link, the gasket is most likely a blender.
Another indicator of a counterfeit may be the price. If it is very cheap compared to its normal price, alarm bells should ring. “Unfortunately, many vendors know this tip and are now setting higher, more reliable prices on counterfeit products,” says Lacroix. “It is especially annoying for the buyer when he buys a cheap copy at a high price.”
It is especially difficult for online shoppers to distinguish genuine branded products from imitations. “Big platforms like Amazon and eBay are trying to sort out the black sheep themselves,” reports Simone Bueb. But even there, and especially in small stores or with offers from abroad, buyers should be very careful.
You get nothing from the fake store
If the prices are very low, there is no overprint on the page or there are misspellings, be careful. Then it can include dubious suppliers or even fake stores. Some of these fake stores are copies of real websites and are therefore difficult for consumers to identify. “Anyone who buys something there often gets inferior goods overpriced, or even nothing,” says Simone Bueb.
Therefore, the point of sale can be useful information: “Expensive branded goods are never sold on the beaches or in front of motorway service stations. Brand manufacturers only sell their products online and in-store through authorized, carefully selected dealers, ”says Lacroix.
An overview of authorized trading partners is often available on the manufacturer’s website. User ratings can also be helpful. However, overly effusive reviews should raise suspicions, and this is also where bought or fake reviews appear.
Anyone who has been accepted by a counterfeiter has a formal right to file a complaint against the advertised goods. “This also applies to private sales, but it is difficult to enforce in practice,” says consumer spokesman Simone Bueb. To limit the damage, online buyers should not pay upfront. If you have already made a transfer, you must contact your bank immediately to stop the payment if possible.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220722-99-118688 / 2