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Counterfeit goods

Counterfeiting is a problem nationally, the nature of counterfeiting involves reproducing a registered trade mark, when you are not authorised to do so. Counterfeit items are sold in various places and for various prices. The trading standards service work with various brand protection agents to find and prosecute individuals and/or traders who are selling counterfeit items.

Counterfeit Can Harm You

Counterfeit items are often sold at much lower prices than what the genuine item would retail at and you will also find that fake fashion items are often lower in quality than genuine goods and could fall apart soon after purchase.

Buying counterfeits can be dangerous, this is especially true for kids’ clothing, which is subject to legal safety standards that fakes are unlikely to comply with. 

False claims

Counterfeits may not be what they claim to be – shoes or a jacket labelled as one material could well be made of another.

This can be dangerous, for example if the material is flammable or in the case of hi-tech clothing items like insulated hiking jackets or waterproof shoes which fail to provide protection in extreme conditions. 

Fake sunglasses may provide inadequate UV protection from sunlight leaving the wearer at risk of eye damage.  Counterfeit hair straightener’s may also be fitted with counterfeit plugs which don’t comply with UK Safety Legislation and may lead to the user receiving an electrical shock or start a house fire.

Counterfeit and the law:

People who recreate items using registered trade marks when not authorised to do so, are committing a criminal offence under the TRADE MARKS ACT 1994.

The penalties are if prosecuted and found guilty the penalties the person may face are:

A) on summary conviction imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (£5000) or both

B) on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or both.

There may also be offences in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The above legislation contains criminal offences relating to unfair commercial practices.  Such an unfair practice is that of claiming that a trader or a product has been approved, endorsed or authorised by a public or private body when the trader, the commercial practices or the product have not.  Making such a claim without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation is also deemed unfair.

If prosecuted and found guilty the penalties the person may face are:

a) On summary conviction, a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (£5000)

b) On conviction on indictment, a fine or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

What are the trade marks? (PDF 45KB new window)

Counterfeit and Social media

Over time we have found an increasing number of individuals and traders selling counterfeit items using social media. We carry out regular investigations of on social media sites to find and investigate these pages.

Safety issues to consider

There are various issues when dealing with counterfeit items to consider, we have already discussed the legal implications. Other issues include safety; the manufacturers of the genuine items have to comply with various safety standards. When buying counterfeit items it is unlikely that they have been tested for safety or even quality. 

Don’t short change yourself, buy genuine and report counterfeit to us on 08454 040506 or e-mail us at trading.standards@flintshire.gov.uk

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