West Sussex Trading Standards is urging people to not be tempted to buy ‘branded’ goods that are suspiciously cheap.
Officers fear there could be a rise in counterfeit goods as the festive season approaches and have produced a series of handy facts for festive shoppers on how to spot them. Their top tip: fake goods will almost certainly be poor quality and may even be dangerous.
Cllr Lionel Barnard, county council cabinet member who oversees Trading Standards, said: “We have found counterfeits in many places, including shops, markets, car boot sales and online.
“With tight budgets it might be tempting, but please remember if you by these goods you may be giving money to organised crime, as well as undermining legitimate businesses.
“If you think you have bought fake goods, or know anyone selling them, please report it to Citizens Advice on 0845 040506 or online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
“Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Among the dangerous items are the following:
• Unsafe copies of the Apple triangular plug charger. If it’s marked ‘Emerson Network Power’ with a ‘Made In China’ logo, it could destroy your device and give you a 240-volt shock.
• Foreign-labelled cigarettes and tobacco products. They may be cheaper but they’re illegal in Britain, The content may kill you more quickly than legal products.
• Cheap mobile phone batteries – these can explode. Also beware of memory cards which may have far fewer gigabytes than stated, and items such as USB memory sticks, headphones, and ‘designer label’ handbags and clothing. Please tell Trading Standards if you see any of these on sale.
Trading Standards has also come up with useful advice for anyone Christmas shopping.
• Are the goods much cheaper than you would expect?
• Is the product poorly made, perhaps with spelling mistakes on the packaging?
• If you’re buying online, does the website give full contact details for the seller, including physical address?
• Be aware that web addresses ending in .co.uk may not be in Britain.
• Use search engines to research websites to check for user problems.
The Brand-I website helps to promote safe online shopping and is a source of internet retailers selling genuine branded goods. Trading Standards are advising buyers to check this website before buying online. https://www.brand-i.org/