Tips to Avoid Counterfeit Goods When #Back2School Shopping

September 06, 2017


By Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC


We all want our kids to have what they want as they head back to school, well, within reason. The latest threads, kicks, and school supplies must meet the scrutiny of the playground. However, while many knock-off luxury items, such as fake Chanel purses, can be found all around the world, it doesn’t mean parents won’t encounter fraudulent items when online shopping for simple back-to-school items for their children.


Counterfeit goods are no small concern. Fake goods cost society hundreds of billions of dollars a year and almost anything that is produced in the market is ripped off. From children’s toys to prescription medication, if it can be copied it will be. While it may seem somewhat harmless to get your child that special item as they head back to school, keep in mind, knock offs can present a health hazard as they can contain chemicals or small parts not listed on the packaging. Not to mention purchasing fake goods supports organized crime around the globe. While fake items will often show up in a too-good-to-be-true kind of way, they certainly won’t have the quality we would associate with the real deal. There are even stories of fake textbooks in the marketplace with poor quality links and missing pages and sections.


BBB offers these tips to make sure you’re buying the real deal:


  1. Make sure you’re shopping on a legit website. These days it’s very easy for scammers to set up a copy of a real point-of-sale website that looks and feels exactly like the real thing. A knock off site to sell you knock offs! Fake sites will likely not have the https:// and lock icon in the URL. Always pay with credit card.
  2. Many links such as social media buttons on fakes site may not be active. A legit site will offer plenty of information such as what the company is about, terms and conditions, verifiable contact information, and active links.
  3. Poor grammar on websites is a big red flag. As well, contact information that has little to do with the company name, like using a Hotmail or Yahoo account, should raise alarm bells.
  4. If the price of the item is too good to be true, it could be a fake. Knowing the value of goods is a good measure as a consumer.
  5. Trust your gut. If the price or availability of an in-demand item seems unrealistic, shop somewhere else. Avoid buying ‘mainstream’ products at flea markets. A reputable brick and mortar store is a safer bet.
  6. Research the physical product. Understand what you are buying and what the product should look and feel like. Doing our due diligence as consumers will protect yourself and others.
  7. Do your part. If you come across counterfeit goods, report it to the local authorities.