Is the item suspiciously cheap?

Fake goods are sold at low and often very tempting prices. Be wary of deals that appear too good to be true – they usually are. 

Don’t buy something you know is far below the recommended retail price, no matter how tempting it may seem.

What does the product look like?

Check the packaging. Remember, something that’s supposed to be expensive will not be delivered to you wrapped in plastic. Be wary of anything with low-quality packaging or no logo. 

Research the item that you’re intending to buy. Does it have any distinguishing holographs or features?

If you do inadvertently buy a fake product, you can use our step-by-step guide to to report it to trading standards

How do I get my money back if I've bought a counterfeit product?

If you pay for a counterfeit product with a credit card, you may be able to get your money back under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

If you paid less than £100 for your item on credit card, or paid with a debit card, you may be able to use chargeback to get your money back.  

Where are you buying the item from?

Buy from reputable retailers. Don’t expect to buy high-end technology or a designer handbag from a car boot sale or a market stall.

And always try to buy from a brand’s official website or from an authorised seller of the product.

Ask the trader you’re buying from whether they offer an after-sales service or guarantee. 

If you’re buying online, you should also check the background of the trader for customer reviews.

Take a look at the website Brand-i, which is partnered with the Chartered Institute of Trading Standards. This website lists online stores selling genuine products.

A good tip for buying from unknown sellers online is to remember that positive feedback about the seller is not the same as positive feedback about the products that they’re selling.

Check feedback specifically for the product you’re purchasing, not just for the seller. 

What about sites outside the UK?

If you buy a fake or counterfeit product through a website based outside the UK, it can be difficult to get a refund from the site, as that country may have different rules.

Don’t assume that a web address that ends in .uk, a listed UK phone number or prices in pounds sterling mean that the seller is a UK-based trader. This isn’t always the case. 

If you’re suspicious of a website, you can use the website to find out who owns the domain. 

Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to creating convincing fake websites. Read our guide to spotting a scam website to make sure you’re not caught out. 

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