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How To Spot Knock- Off Labels And Fake Products

Some years ago, my friend and I were shopping at a market in Dubai when we were approached by a man who asked us (very quietly) if we wanted to buy some good quality fake designers bags whatever that meant. As you may know, as huge as the fake designers products market is, it’s a serious offence to be caught in the UAE peddling them so those who do venture into it, are really careful.

Out of curiousity, we went along to see what they had in store and I must say, these bags were really good attempts at the real thing, so good that if we saw some of those items in a shop, we’d fall hook line and yes, sinker! Another friend had the same story too and she said the counterfieters even counted the stitches and compared them with the real thing and it all matched! They always try to copy and match these expensive brands at every step! It’s a crazy world out there when you go out shopping for a product that’s made a name for itself and has enjoyed a huge and juicy market share for decades. Everyone wants a share of these brands’ market and are ready to do anything to get it, thus the hard work in counterfieting. For the untrained eyes however, what do you do to avoid falling a victim of the fake counterfeiters? Well, here are a few guidelines:

Research Your Product and Know It Well:
Whether it’s a bag, shoes, wristwatch or clothing, if you are going to be buying this  product from a store that isn’t a direct vendor, ensure you do your research first. By learning as much as you can about the product you want to buy, you will ensure you can separate bona fide items from inferior imitations. Check for quality, precision and detail, and you will be able to spot knock-offs that are rarely a good deal in the long run. Make sure you scrutinize over every detail of your designer good before you try to determine authenticity. The logo, stitching and packaging each offer crucial clues to help you determine whether your purchase is real or fake. In 2010, selling counterfeit goods online was a $200-billion-dollar industry! Some of the most common forgeries include watches, bags and designer clothing.Quality control is often absent in counterfeiting operations, so you may be able to spot a counterfeit simply based on its workmanship. Of course, even if it isn’t a counterfeit, you should ask yourself,  do you really want a poorly-made product?

A Fake Wristwatch

Watches are easy to duplicate. Looking for inscriptions of the brand name in the watch and checking for imperfections or misspellings in the logo will aid you in determining if the watch is real or not. Another detail to look for is how the watch works. For example, Rolex watches have a sweeping second hand, while many knockoffs have a ticking one. Small details like this may be difficult to pick up on by the untrained eye, but when you are made aware and know what to look for, spotting a fake is a whole lot easier.

Designer bags are popular in today’s society and knockoffs are just everywhere! Check the brand’s official website to see the position of the logo on the bag and make sure that it is in the identical place when you are verifying your bag. Another thing to look for is making sure that the logos match up on either side of the seams. Many fake bags are poorly made and thus the logos don’t match up.

Check for quality of the stitching and ensure that it isn’t falling out or uneven. Labels on the inside of the bags are generally stamped onto the leather and fake bags are sometimes missing this piece. Some like Louis Vuitton also have identification stamps with numbers of when the bag was made written in peculiar ways that throw off counterfeiters.

Designer clothing can be more difficult when you are trying to spot a fake. Again look at the stitching and hang tags. Many designer brands will have a certain color thread they use for stitching all of their gowns and they will have tags that are hard to duplicate. Some well-known brands have VIP clubs where you can register your product via serial number (Herve Leger)- this is a great way to ensure the product you’re buying is real.

Other Tips:
Be realistic when shopping. If the price seems too good to be true, you’re likely not getting an authentic item. Not all fakes sell at lower prices than their genuine counterparts, but an unreal bargain is one of the surest signs of an unreal product. No one is going to be selling a $1,200 handbag for $100 … unless that bag is fake! Look for serial numbers on your products. If it’s a high-end luxury good then it is more likely to have a unique serial number. When online, be very careful;  Online purchases are a lot more difficult to verify because the product is not in front of you. Phrases such as “inspired by” and “replica of” mean the item is not real. I would advise you shop at well known stores like Net-A- Porter or Neiman Marcus.
If you’re purchasing a brand that is new to you or a product that you don’t frequently buy, compare it to the same product at other stores. You can also compare brands against other brands. For example, if you’re not sure about a certain extension cord, compare it to others that are for sale in the same aisle. All brands of extension cord will have a lot of the same information and symbols printed on them or on their packaging, so if one particular brand doesn’t, it may be a fake.

Inspect the packaging carefully. Reputable businesses typically take great care in packaging their products. Beware flimsy packaging, packaging with substandard printing or running colors, or packages that appear to have been opened. In addition, take a moment to actually read the package for spelling or grammatical errors which are common on the packaging for counterfeit goods. For example, obvious typos like  “SOUTH AFRLCA” and “Assoxiation.

Also, does the packaging exactly match the product? Some careless counterfeiters will try putting a fake drill, for example, in a box for a saw. It’s rarely this obvious — check model numbers on the packaging against the model number of the equipment, and carefully examine tags on clothing.

Look out for very plain boxes. Most product labels and boxes these days have a whole host of information printed on them, from bar codes to trademark and patent information to recycling symbols. Counterfeiters often don’t want to spend the time to reproduce every detail, so they’ll likely leave some of this stuff off.Look for manufacturer contact information. Most reputable companies will provide a phone number or at least an address at which consumers can call them. You can even go ahead and check  for the manufacturer’s website. Many large companies now have information on their websites to alert customers to possible counterfeit products and to help them detect fakes- Counterfeit products often don’t include supplementary materials such an owner’s manual or a product registration card. Sometimes they don’t even include all the parts that should come with the product, or some parts will be from a different manufacturer.

It’s a world full of counterfeiters out there looking to lure people out of their hard earned money. Don’t fall a victim. Do your homework and make sure you’re doing the right thing. Did we eventually make any purchases from the counterfeiters’ store at  Dubai? Nope, but we learnt a lot that day!




Research: http://www.investopedia.com. wikihow.com