Trading Standards officers have reported a sharp rise in the number of ‘copycat’ websites selling counterfeit branded goods over the internet.
The number of fake goods seized at UK borders has increased fourfold over the last decade with a total of 3,707,940 products in 2009 – up from 857,772 in 2000.
The BBC reports that while counterfeit goods were previously mostly luxury items such as designer watches, now everyday products such as shampoo, clothing, make up and electrical goods have become increasingly prominent.
Fake goods are often sold at a heavy discount on websites with a subtly different name to the brand they imitate.
Which? members have contacted us after they realised they had bought fake goods online and have struggled to get in touch with the company where they made the purchase.
If you suspect that you may be purchasing counterfeit goods, check contact details to see if the company has a UK-based address or telephone number. Misspellings and dodgy logos can also be a giveaway.
Remember to always watch for the https:// element at the beginning of an address on a website where you are making a transaction.
See here for more on counterfeit goods and your rights.
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