To fake something means to counterfeit or imitate something. Fake products are replicas of the original product. This is done so as to take the advantage of the real products’ superior value. The fake products also have a duplicate company logos and brands. The duplicate or fake products can be anything from toys, clothing shoes to pharmaceuticals and software. Of recently, fake products have infected the online market like viruses. It is found that people visiting sites offering illegal products are about 7 million (Wall, 2000). Fake products are being sold increasingly in the online market. These are either by virtual shops which looks impressive or by the social media sites which contains advertisements of discount priced products. The international anti counterfeiting coalition has reported that most of the fake products are from Asia, mainly China. Eastern Europe is also another source of the fake products. The countries with the cheaper labour force have little loyalty for the products. The fake products deceive the customers into thinking that they are buying the original product. The fake products are often very tempting since they cost much less than the original price. Trading Standards e-commerce expert Paul Miloseski-Reid warned: ‘Consumers are playing with fire purchasing electrical products from unknown sellers in an effort to bag a bargain.’
The problems of counterfeiting or faking products can be solved by seeking authorized retailers in the online market. The most important way is scrutinizing the labels the contents and the packaging. The goods must be researched properly in the manufacturer’s site before buying it from the online portals. Fake products are easily identified by seeing whether they are cheap or expensive. Excessively cheap products are mostly fake in nature. We should shop at retailers who are reputed and authorized in the market (Action Fraud, 2015). The customers should see that the VAT and sales tax is paid while purchasing and a authorized number should be generated. The laws regulating the counterfeiting must be made stronger.
Problem 1: The problem with the fake product is that they can sometimes be dangerous and unsafe.
Fake product as we have discussed earlier are generally cheaper than the original products. This is due to the fact that they are made of cheaper resources and materials. Poison in the clothes of children has been found. The investigation found that the product had high content of formaldehyde. The level was 500 times more than the safety levels. Such issues are common with cheaper products which some of the online retailer sells. Even some companies are selling fake cosmetics and make-ups which contain dangerous levels of arsenic and lead. The fake version of brands like MAC as well as Benefit contains lead which is 19 times more than the legal level. The cost of MAC lipstick on its official website is £15.50 but it was available on a website at just £2.05. The people have no way of finding whether a product is real. But it is to be noted that the products which are extremely cheap should not be bought from online. There are various physical retail stores that offer various products, which the customers can scrutinize properly while buying. The retailers give membership cards and even offer huge discounts to their regular customers. People should moreover buy from the authorized website of the manufacturer to avoid counterfeit products.
Problem 2: Often the fake products can damage the reputation and the goodwill of the legitimate manufacturers.
The appearances of the fake products are so close to the original products that they hard to detect. As it happened that an Indian government official ordered a pair of Nike Air Max shoes from the online shop Snapdeal for a price of Rs.9,445. When the good was delivered it was found that they were knockoffs. The shoes were from local vendor and instead of nikebetterworld.com, it was printed as nikebetterwold.com. the mistake or forgery was very small to detect. Often these issues make the customers loose hopes from the online shopping sites (Buswell, 2013). Certain companies are aware of these problems, so they try to take steps on their own. Like for example, the website FitFlop, does not allow its retailers to sell the footwear on eBay. Thus if eBay sells FitFlop shoes then it has to be understood that the product is a counterfeit. Breaking the counterfeit law may result in a offence under the Copyright Act, Trademark Act, Design and Patents Act and Consumer Protection Act. A lump amount of money is fined or the accused is subjected to a penalty of imprisonment, which can extend up to 6 months. To protect their image, the company Amazon has also taken some steps (Amazon.co.uk, 2015). They have certain policies like for example, they will never ask for information such as the bank account details or pin number by an email. The customers must be aware of these small details for which the companies must educate the customers.
Problem 3: The third problems with these fake products are that, the more people are using and buying these products its rewarding the crimes at large.
The problem with many fake products is that spotting them is becoming harder. More and more people are buying these fake products as they tend to be cheaper than the original product. This leads to a problem which is criminal in nature as trying to gain financially without the consent of the owner is punishable. Moreover while accessing certain websites the customer also leads him to danger as their personal details get exposed and may get affected by viruses. Many fraudsters may even sell fake goods so as to fund other organized crime. The companies should try to stop these actions by producing holograms which the faking company will not be able to duplicate (Ong, 2013). Those who violate these rules should be met with legal actions immediately. CSA Internationals initiated a program which can detect, punish and expose those who use unauthorized trademarks.
To conclude we can say that the fake products are often very tempting since they cost much less than the original price. The problem with the fake product is that they can sometimes be dangerous and unsafe. the fake products have most of the time they have led to injuries and health problems. Often the fake products can damage the reputation of the legitimate manufacturers. People could not understand the difference between a real and fake product. Often people end up buying a wrong product which eventually creates a negative impact on the minds of the customers. This can lead to lose of customers and also does damage to the goodwill of the company. The third problems with these fake products are that, the more people are using and buying these products its rewarding the crimes that are happening in the online market. With these money which they derive due to forgery, the fraudsters are engaging in other criminal activities. To stop these customers must be aware of it, then they must purchase from authenticate websites. The rules and regulations guiding these transactions must be made strict (Action Fraud, 2015). Even the companies must mention their policies on the websites which will make the customers aware of their extent and limitations. With all these actions stated, if some of them is applied then the fake products on the online shopping will somewhat reduce. But one thing is of concern is the customers wish to possess a product at cheaper rate will not reduce to a great extent. This can lead to counterfeiting the products which will persist the problem.
Action Fraud,. (2015). Online shopping fraud. Retrieved 14 February 2015, from https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-online-shopping-fraud
Amazon.co.uk,. (2015). Amazon.co.uk Help. Retrieved 14 February 2015, from https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=15340571
Buswell, F. (2013). How to spot fake and counterfeit products online. Which? Conversation. Retrieved 14 February 2015, from https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/buy-fake-products-counterfeit-goods-online/
Ong, T. (2013). Product reputation manipulation.
Wall, M. (2000). Shopping online. London: HarperCollins.
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