Brand counterfeiting is big business. If you buy a watch or a fine leather purse on the street, you'll have good odds that the item is either stolen or fresh off an import boat. When you buy that same watch or killer purse in a store, you are getting the real deal from the manufacturer. Or are you? The shocking truth is buying the quality goods on the street has something in common with buying items in a well-known retail outlet. Both purchases risk a fake. Brand counterfeit goods are everywhere and the authorities are barely keeping up catching the counterfeiters.
Counterfeit Goods Types. You may think an item is chump change for brand counterfeiters, but you'd be surprised what ends up as a moneymaking counterfeit. Inexpensive jewelry, sunglasses, even perfume and laundry detergent, wind up making big bucks for counterfeiters. CNBC reported in 2011 that counterfeiting is the largest underground industry in the world. The reporting done by this group claims that fake goods add up to around seven percent of all global trade, that's everything traded and that's some major haul.
Check Stuff You Buy. Don't assume that department stores and high-end vendors have the real goods. If something doesn't look right, it probably isn't. Look at the stitching on clothing and the quality of the fabrics. If it's cheap or shoddy looking, there is a problem. Look at the labels. Companies rarely alter their trademarks and labeling. It's the way you identify them and the way you identify counterfeits. Cheap lining, cardboard and padding used to create shape, and a product that doesn't match the manufacturers shape or size should send up a warning flag.
Report Your Fakes. Large companies offer special help to report brand counterfeiting. Coach, a leather goods maker, for instance, has a special reporting telephone number and email address to report fakes. The company asks that you send them a photo of your bag and the location where you bought the item. They do the rest.
Brand counterfeits have become so abundant that a group of companies formed the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. The list of members includes well-known companies like Calvin Klein, Apple, Inc. (as in the computers, not the fruit), American Eagle Outfitters, Energizer (the bunny people), Eli Lilly (the drug people), and even Exxon Mobil. Yes, even oil and oil have counterfeiters. Contact this group to report your fakes of member companies.
Report All Fakes. Nobody likes a snitch. But, when illegal brand counterfeited goods go on the market without anyone reporting the fakes, it means we all risk buying fake goods. You spent the time and money to develop a drug and your next door neighbor goes through your trash and uses your notes to whip up a similar drug, with cheaper ingredients, in her garage. She uses your company logo, so buyers think it's the same quality as your product, and she undercuts your price. There wouldn't be much incentive for you to develop other drugs to cure diseases. You spend the bucks for development and she skates in for the profits. So you're not a pharmacist, but the same argument goes for a new surfboard fin you design or your killer cake recipe you want to market.
Fakes are Inferior to the Real Deal. So you're not that altruistic and you figure you're never going to manufacturer anything. Here's another argument against buying counterfeits. Most fake goods aren't comparable to the real stuff, according to the FBI. Fake golf clubs break, clothing looks funky when it's washed and drug have impurities that may kill you. Even if you're not keen on giving cred and bucks to those who deserve it, you usually aren't getting your money's worth. The better the fake, the higher the price. Counterfeiting good quality brand items typically brings the price up to something comparable to the real deal. Make sure you get your money's worth when you buy. If it's too good of a deal, it's guaranteed to be a fake, and usually not a good one.