How to report fake goods or counterfeit products

A trader may have committed a criminal offence by selling you fake goods or by giving you a false description of the goods, so you may be entitled to a refund or exchange.

Report to your local trading standards office

Your local trading standards department may not be able to get involved in your complaint directly, but it may be able to take action against the seller.

Trading standards services differ across the country. Citizens Advice has an agreement with trading standards to help you report a problem and, if appropriate, refer it on.

To report a company or fake product to trading standards, you need to call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or you can use the online enquiry form.

Some trading standards offices do have local drop-in centres. Phone the Consumer Helpline to find out if there’s one in your area.

Report to Action Fraud

If fraud has been committed, report the problem to Action Fraud via its online reporting tool.

It’s important to report fraudulent activity so that Action Fraud can obtain a clear picture of what crimes are being committed. 

Report to Brand-i

You can also report a website that you think may be selling counterfeit goods to Brand-i.

Brand-i is a directory website, working in partnership with the Trading Standards Institute, that provides a list of all the online shops selling genuine branded products. 

If you enter details of the counterfeit site into its reporting tool, this will be forwarded on to the brandholder’s protection department.

Reporting sellers on Ebay

If you’ve found a counterfeit item on eBay, it’s best to report it to the seller first. If it’s an item that they themselves bought, they might not be aware that it’s a fake.

If you have a valid claim that the seller won’t resolve, consider raising a dispute through the Ebay Buyer Protection process. 

For more information, see our guide on how to complain if something you bought on Ebay is faulty.

You can also report counterfeit items on the item’s listing by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on the ‘report item’ link. 

Getting a refund

If you enter your debit/credit card details into a website that deals in fakes, you could essentially be giving your card details to a criminal, so be careful.

If you do buy an item that turns out to be a fake, getting a refund can be difficult.

However, when you buy goods or services on your credit or debit card, you have extra protection if things go wrong compared with paying by cheque or cash.

You can make a claim against your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if the item you bought cost more than £100 and less than £30,000.

If you bought something costing less than £100, or used your debit card, you can ask your card provider to reverse a transaction using chargeback.  

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