Trading Standards warning over "convincing" fakesBy Julie Spencer
September 14, 2012
If you can make it, you can fake it.
That’s the message from trading standards officers who are warning that counterfeit goods are so convincing that even they cannot always spot the fakes.
John Nash, principal trading standards officer at Bracknell Forest Council, said counterfeiting had come a long way since the days when people would buy obvious fake DVDs in pubs.
He said: “The biggest problem we have is that the counterfeits are not like the old days when they were patently poor copies.
“They are a lot more convincing and cosmetically they look very good so people are convinced they are buying the genuine item.”
Fake goods seized recently by Mr Nash’s department include counterfeit Mac, Benefit and Yves St Laurent cosmetics and fake Pandora beads, computer software and vodka and wine.
The team of five’s latest victory against online fraudsters saw Christopher Ryan, who lives in Ibiza but is from Bristol, ordered to return to the UK following a complaint from a Bracknell man.
Robert Tayor, of Crown Wood, contacted Adobe after buying computer software online from Amazon Marketplace.
He said: “I purchased some Adobe software from Mr Ryan through Amazon. The price was a bit lower than the RRP, but not low enough for me to have doubts, so I just assumed it was an import from America.
“When I received the software it looked genuine and it worked perfectly. It was only when I tried to input the serial number that I started to have doubts.”
Trading standards officers from Bracknell and officers from South Gloucestershire raided a property in Bristol and seized more than 50 items of counterfeit software.
Ryan appeared at Reading Magistrates Court on August 2 and admitted four charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 – two relating to the sale of counterfeit computer software and two counts relating to the possession of counterfeit software.
He was ordered to pay a £2,000 fine as well as £2,500 in costs.
Mr Nash said online shoppers had to take extra steps to make sure they were buying from a legitimate website.
“If you can make it, you can fake it – from condoms and cosmetics to car parts.
“There is a massive amount of websites out there which are perfectly legitimate and if you buy from them you have added rights than if you are buying in a shop. But if you are buying online make sure you do those extra couple of clicks to look more deeply at where you are buying from. Quite a lot comes from China and although people may think they are safe buying from a co.uk website, quite a lot of Chinese website are using these UK addresses.
“Any legitimate website will have all their details on there and if in doubt, shoppers should walk away.”
If you have concerns about a product you have bought, call trading standards on (01344) 352 000 or visit www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/tradingstandards.