It’s always a risk, particularly at Christmas: You buy some named brand goods for an insanely good price… only to find that what you’ve purchased is a cheap knock-off with a dodgy label.
It might’ve seemed like a great deal for your budget, but it might mean more than a case of ‘buy cheap, buy twice’.
That’s a best-case scenario. The authorities are acutely aware that counterfeit electrical equipment out there runs the risk of starting fires, and perfumes can be poisonous. A not-so-merry Christmas, then.
Now, the Intellectual Property Office wants everyone to know the risks of buying fake goods this Christmas.
And they’re doing it with jokes.
Keen not to be seen as fear-mongering and hectoring, ‘rather than be seen as shaking a stick,’ the Intellectual Property Office has opted for a more light-hearted tone. It’s a bid to raise awareness of a very serious issue in a way that plays well, and more importantly gets shared, on social media.
The video, which you can check out below, sees two true loves (and a keyboard player, of course) run through the list of fake gifts they received – and how they managed to turn out worse than expected. Whiskey that’s risky. Bags that make you gag. Rashes and explosions from phoney creams and toys. Switch out ‘five gold rings’ for ‘skin that looks like Shrek’ and you get the idea.
And, of course, there’s another issue hiding behind the risks: Copyright infringement. Ros Lynch, the Intellectual Property Office’s director of copyright and enforcement, stated that:
‘Those involved in counterfeiting are in the business to take advantage of consumers and make huge profits in the process. The goods are often of inferior quality, dangerous and the proceeds can be used to fund other serious organised crime. Counterfeiters have a total disregard for safety or quality, and even if items look genuine at first, they may end up being a dangerous or inferior copy.’
This is the time of year, after all, when counterfeit goods entering the country positively surges – with border officials fighting the influx with technology
According to Sean Gigg, Border Force higher officer:
‘Counterfeiters will counterfeit anything. It’s based on supply and demand. It can be anything from cosmetics to jewellery to watches to the latest toys but also undergarments as well.’
Just look at the list of hauls customers prevented entering the country in the last few weeks:
•1,440 Superdry hoodie tops worth approximately £100,000
•16,000 Gillette Mach 3 razor blades worth approximately £143,840
•82,320 Calvin Klein underpants worth approximately £1.5m
•450 Dyson fans and Apple chargers worth approximately £182,500
•1,530 Pandora charms worth approximately £45,900
•379 Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund football shirts worth approximately £16,149
•48 pairs of Nike Vapormax trainers worth approximately £5,760
•2,112 Spiderman, Pokemon and Hello Kitty hand held fans worth approximately £31,680
Basically, if you can buy it this Christmas, there’s a counterfeit counterpart lurking just around the corner. It’s easily done and incredibly tempting, especially when you’re on a tight budget, but as the Intellectual Property Office wants to highlight beneath their ‘played for laughs’ tone is a very serious warning that fake goods don’t just cost you less than genuine items; they could cost you a lot more this Christmas. You can check out the guide to avoiding counterfeit goods right here.