Counterfeit goods

Alongside dodgy designer knock-offs, sophisticated copies are being sold online - and they're that much harder to detect.
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02.Protecting yourself

  • 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.

Have you been duped?

  • First of all, try to sort it out with the retailer. 
  • If that doesn’t work and you bought the product from an Australian retailer, make a complaint to the relevant fair trading or consumer affairs office. 
  • If you bought the product from overseas, you can make a complaint on the international reporting site for online scams. You can also try dealing with the fair trading bodies in the relevant country. 
  • You can also report it to the police or Crimestoppers as an intellectual property crime.

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