08 Dec

Beware Of Buying Counterfeit Gifts

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 08.12.09 by John Meloche

We have been doing a lot of talking about the holiday shopping season as of late. Shoppers, of course, are hitting the malls in a frenzy to pick up gifts for family and friends hoping to secure themselves the best deals possible. Clearly, bargain-hunters are on the prowl during this time of year. And while finding your item of choice at a great price may seem like you've lucked out, the QMI Agency's Sharon Singleton warns that goods sold at ?too good to be true prices? may not even be worth it.

In today's Toronto Sun, Singleton reveals that ?the sale of fake goods is likely to jump over the holiday season.? Both counterfeit experts and police agree that since so many consumers are searching for great deals, some will end up unknowingly purchasing knock-offs. In other words, if you're looking for the real thing, you better beware of lower-than-normal prices for popular gifts.

Sergeant Sylvain St-Jean, national intellectual property rights co-ordinator with the RCMP admits that putting a stop to the sale of bogus products is not an easy task. In fact, the RCMP has no specific plans for seizures during the holiday months and instead offers warnings to holiday shoppers looking for a good deal.

?We don?t have sufficient resources to combat the problem,? said St-Jean, ?We have to target the things where there are health and safety issues involved.?

Counterfeit products cost businesses billions of dollars a year, says Singleton, noting that this is a problem that is growing in Canada. In fact, ?The International Chamber of Commerce estimates the cost to the global economy is about $429 billion US a year,? she writes.

Lorne Lipkus, a partner a law firm Kestenberg, Siegal and Lipkus, which specializes in tackling counterfeits had this to say: ?For some of the really popular products, it?s almost impossible for us to keep up with the number of cases of fakes…In a good economy people are more likely to buy from a known store, now they will shop around for cheaper prices.?

St-Jean goes on to note the dangers that may be involved in buying fake products, citing the Chi flat iron hair straightener by Farouk Systems Grou as an example. The knock-offs, he reports, are of high quality making it hard to tell them apart from the real thing. It just so happens that the fakes are prone to overheating and are therefore dangerous.

Belt buckles, blue-tooth headsets and Ugg boots are also among the most popular items to have counterfeit counterparts. The spike in counterfeit sales of these items has come with the popularity of internet shopping. So you should definitely do your research before going online to buy gifts.

Says Chris Tortorice, corporate counsel anti-piracy at Microsoft Canada: ?With the growth in the Internet there is a wide variety of products available and an anonymity from detection for the counterfeiter…People really need to understand what they are buying. If the price seems too good to be true it probably is.?

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