Beware of counterfeits

Totseat invited guest blogger, Jet Doran of SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd, to discuss the danger counterfeit baby products pose in our industry.

Poor quality and potentially unsafe counterfeit goods are putting consumers at risk. Counterfeit goods are fake items deliberately made to look genuine. The issue of their prevalence within the luxury brand industry is well-documented, but what’s less well-known is the significant amount of counterfeits within the toy and nursery sector.

European Union statistics show that toys are one of the top categories of counterfeit products seized by EU customs, yet those which aren't 'caught' end up in stores, on marketplaces, at fairs and car-boot sales. Many more are available online, on websites and even some well-known online market places. The appeal of such products, of course, lies in their discounted price. This logic however, leads to a false economy with fake goods sometimes not even worth the ‘bargain price’ paid.

Aside from the disappointment generated by a poor imitation of a much wanted toy, for example, these items can be extremely dangerous.  Small, sharp and poorly fixed parts fall off and become choking hazards; low quality paints and glues are often toxic; and poor electrical wiring can lead to electric shocks - just a few common dangers encountered with counterfeit toys. Furthermore, as well as being unsafe, once damaged or broken, there is little hope of recovering your money or replacing the item in question. Counterfeit goods are never protected by any warranty. Quality genuine articles are thoroughly tested (at great cost), but such checks ensure the toy is legal and can cause no harm, delivering safety and confidence within the price tag.

One of the best ways of avoiding purchasing such goods is to always buy from the manufacturer, or the authorised retailer(s). There are, of course, genuine bargains to be had online and, unfortunately, this is where spotting counterfeits becomes more difficult. Unscrupulous sellers often use genuine photographs, and copy genuine product descriptions meaning the arrival of goods bearing little, or no resemblance, to the promised item is a nasty shock.

Always look for other people’s comments and reviews. When purchasing from the online marketplaces, look for sellers with a history of good feedback, and ask questions about the merchandise. Beware of items that are being advertised as “wholesale price” or “factory direct”. Pay attention to spelling mistakes, scrutinise packaging and always, always, insist on a secure transaction method. IF you are unsure about the authenticity of a product, report it - to the seller, the store from which it was purchased and the brand owner.

Brand owners work hard to develop safe products and they are seeing their reputations damaged and revenues stolen as a result of this problem. Any information that you can provide is invaluable in their, and our, fight against counterfeiting, and a proactive approach in assisting with such information much appreciated. You might even get a genuine product in exchange for your help!

* SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd. Working with leading brands to help tackle the sale of counterfeit goods. We monitor the internet for the sale of products that could be putting the health and safety of children and babies at risk.