Although counterfeit bags have been around for many years, we now know the counterfeit industry rose to prominence during the six seasons of US television comedy Sex and the City.
Unfortunately fashion apparel, handbags and accessories are not the only consumer products that are being copied and sold as counterfeit goods. The counterfeit industry includes fake medications (which has lead to serious implications), baby formula (China melamine scam), health & beauty aids, perfumes, personal care products, watches & jewelry, consumer electronics, computers parts, labels & tags, books, sporting goods, critical components such as car /airplane parts, and more.
In short, any product that has value to the consumer will most likely be counterfeited at one time or another. The criminals that manufacture and sell counterfeit do not care about anything but the money they will make by duping the consumer.
So who is buying counterfeit goods?
There are two types of people who buy fake goods – those who don’t know and those who don’t care. The latter group is a problem and continues to fuel this fake industry.
Many people don’t see a problem with getting what appears to be a designer item for a fraction of the price. These purchases are partly driven by the Generation Z group and the fact that they “feel they cannot afford the lifestyle they want”. It is these people who are urged to consider their actions, particularly the background of where their purchases comes from.
So how do we distinguish between a real handbag and counterfeit? For starters the old adage remains: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The counterfeiter’s strategy is to provide a handbag that looks like the real thing for a price that is too good to be true.
Where these handbags are sold should also be noted. You won’t find these fake bags in normal retail outlets because selling counterfeit goods is illegal. Luxury and designer brands do not sell their brand new goods for super cheap in flea markets, garage sales, handbag parties, estate sales, Canal Street in New York or online shops.
Do your homework. Get to know the brand and what it’s worth. In other words, you cannot purchase a genuine Chanel or Louis Vuitton bag for 90% off the regular retail price. The counterfeiters know that their customers want the status symbol without paying the status symbol price.
Just what makes authentic designer handbags so expensive? The answer comes down to two words: material and craftsmanship. These bags are close to perfect in every way and the quality cannot be replicated in a counterfeit. A luxury bag is an investment piece. These bags will last for years and hold their value.
With the increase of online shopping there has also been an increase in where counterfeiters are selling their wares. Problem sites include eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, Kijiji, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Etsy, Instagram, and Pinterest to name a few.
There are a host of brick and mortar retailers offering counterfeit goods including a ‘big box’ chain store who was caught selling ‘Tiffany’ rings, and an entire shopping centre in Markham, Ontario called Pacific Mall.
There was also a small chain of consignment stores in the US that was replenishing stock with real and counterfeit handbags. This case eventually ended up in court where employees testified that the owner made frequent buying trips to Canal Street in New York.
It’s a mistake to assume that you are never going to buy a counterfeit item. In 2017, one-third of online shoppers received an unexpected surprise. They unwillingly received a counterfeit product. It can’t be stressed enough, research the brand you are thinking of purchasing, know the brand’s value and where the item is coming from.
The counterfeit industry is now regarded as THE crime of the 21st century and represents 10 per cent of world trade | globally $1.2 trillion every year (2018).