01.Fair Trading warns counterfeiters that getting caught is a matter of time
New South Wales Fair Trading raided a Western Sydney retail outlet yesterday and seized about 1000 items of fake designer clothing and accessories, including a trove of counterfeit Nike footwear.
The resulting fines could amount to $22,000 for individuals involved and $1.1million for the company.
It's the latest in a series of Fair Trading raids in the Sydney area targeting the counterfeit goods industry.
"The raid follows an ongoing Fair Trading surveillance operation targeting counterfeit goods in the marketplace involving both covert and overt investigation strategies", said Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox.
"Earlier this month, Fair Trading seized more than 8000 counterfeit make-up products from three locations across Sydney. The investigation followed consumer complaints about make-up products they had purchased, including one woman who had the skin on her face burnt after using a fake Mac foundation."
Successful Fair Trading prosecution
"Earlier this year, Fair Trading mounted a successful prosecution of a Paddy's Markets trader, Michael Lam, for selling counterfeit football clothing. Mr Lam was ordered to pay fines and court costs of $17,180 by Parramatta Local Court.
"These recent raids should be treated as a warning to retailers who are out in the marketplace selling fake goods that Fair Trading is watching and that if you continue to engage in this ill conduct, it's only a matter of time before you will be caught," Mr Mason-Cox said.
How to make sure it's the real thing
Counterfeiters are getting more sophisticated, and it's not always easy to tell if something is a knock-off. In an investigation
last year, CHOICE outlined some steps shoppers should take to make sure they end up with the real deal.
- Shopping using online auction houses and taking advantage of parallel imports are potentially riskier methods than buying direct from authorised suppliers. However, both are opportunities for consumers to get a good deal. Be careful and do your research.
- If buying a particular brand, seek out information about replicas and fakes online before purchasing so you know what to look out for.
- Ask the seller questions about the item and also ask for extra, non-generic pictures.
- If buying from auction sites such as eBay, use payment methods that will refund you if a product turns out to be fake. PayPal provides protection for purchases up to $20,000 if an item doesn't match the seller's description. PayMate also offers protection on purchases up to $3000 where goods differ substantially from what was described. Credit card companies also have a chargeback function if a cardholder has unknowingly bought counterfeit goods or goods that were not as described.
- Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), goods you buy must match the description provided by the trader and the trader can't make any false or misleading representations about the goods they are selling. This covers online purchases (including online auction houses) provided you buy from an Australian business and not a private seller.
- Check that the company's name is registered in Australia on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission's business register. Also check out the seller's reputation on online forums.
- Use the "Buy It Now" function if it's offered as it gives you all your rights under the ACL, unless it is a private seller or a one-off sale.