The market for counterfeit luxury items - from jewelry and perfume to handbags and sunglasses – is wide and deep.
While online classified sites such as Craigslist and eBay are hot spots for counterfeit luxury item fraud, vendors of such goods are now setting up their own websites to fool frugal fashionistas.
BBB offers the following tips:
Always deal with reputable businesses. The number one way to avoid getting ripped off when buying luxury goods is to deal with reputable businesses. If doubt, check websites to find legitimate businesses selling the desired item. And be sure to check out the business with BBB at wynco.bbb.org.
If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. One of the biggest red flags for knock-off merchandise is an unrealistic price. Extremely low prices are tempting but not to be believed. Paying $100 for a $1,000 purse could result in the consumer receiving a poorly constructed – and worthless – fake.
Read between the lines. Some websites or online classified ads go overboard in descriptions of items and tend to overuse such words as “genuine,” “real” or “authentic.” And keep an eye out for sneaky phrases such as “inspired by.”
Check the merchandise. Name recognition is a huge motivator for buying a luxury brand, which is why manufacturers spend considerable time and energy crafting the physical label. Counterfeiters aren’t usually as meticulous. Look for misspelled words and brand names, and poorly sewn logos and labels. Some luxury goods carry an “authenticity label” with a hologram or other security measure.
Know the brand. Zippers, screws, clasps and stitching are usually very specific for individual brands and companies often have details on their websites explaining what to look for and how to spot a knock-off. Craftsmanship is king for most luxury brands. If the sunglasses snap in two in the first week, or if the stitching and seams are ragged and don’t match up on a purse, the items are probably counterfeit.
Consumers who have purchased counterfeit luxury goods should file complaints with the BBB at wynco.bbb.org and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.
Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit wynco.bbb.org or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.