Holiday shoppers need to be on look out for counterfeit goods

  
     
December 17, 2012

Vancouver - December 18, 2012 - Cyber shoppers need to be extra careful when buying online. Even the savviest online shoppers are finding themselves stumbling onto websites selling counterfeit goods. A recent study conducted by Nielsen discovered one in five online bargain hunters browsed sites selling counterfeit products.

How the Scam Works:

Your holiday shopping list is long, but money is short. So instead of hitting the mall, you pull up Google. You type in terms like "cheap," "discount" and "outlet" followed by the name of a product. Hit the search button, and there's a one in five chance you'll end up at a website selling counterfeit goods. Make a purchase from such a site, and you end up with a fake rather than a great deal.

Many of these counterfeit sites are hard to distinguish from legitimate online retailers that sell overstocks and end-of-season clearance. One website: www.chilliwackbomberoutlet.com comes up when searching for “Canada Goose,” a popular Canadian designer jacket brand, the site states up to 50% in savings, has a logo from Canada Goose brand, and mentions Chilliwack and Toronto on several of its pages. The problem is the store is not based in Canada, but appears to be in China and is not an authorized distributor of Canada Goose jackets. A BC consumer who paid $300 for a jacket is awaiting refund from the company.

Below are tips for spotting a fake... before you make a purchase.

I'm not sure This Website is Legit. What Should I Do?

Look for the BBB seal on the website and check out the business' review on BBB.org.

Make sure the site has a contact page with a physical address and phone number. You can also check whois.net to see who owns the website. Be very wary of web registrations that are private.

To ensure your payment info is secure, look in the address box for the "s" in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the "lock" symbol.

When shopping online, pay with a credit card. Under federal law, you can dispute the charges if you do not receive the item and contest unauthorized charges. Many card issuers have "zero liability" policies which will protect you if your credit card number is stolen.

Refer to the original manufacturer’s website. In the case of Canada Goose, the company website has a Counterfeit section where you can verify URLs to see if a website is a legitimate distributor: www.canada-goose.com/counterfeit/

The RCMP also offers the following advice when looking out for counterfeit products:

  • Price – much lower than average, too good to be true.
  • Packaging – poor quality graphics, spelling mistakes, appearance.
  • Products normally sold as a package are being sold individually.
  • Missing labels, name brand or certification.

For more holiday shopping tips, go to: www.mbc.bbb.org.