How to recognise a counterfeited product

For many consumers, going on summer holiday can involve the risk of buying products with low quality and that could be hazardous for health and safety. When you are in a new environment, you are also more easily taken in. Pay extra attention to tourist traps. Avoid spontaneous shopping and think about the price – is it always a good idea to go for the cheapest prices? What is the risk in shopping here?

Counterfeited products have not been safety tested and have low quality requirements, so using them will imply a risk. Products may, for example, contain environmental toxins and chemicals that can harm our health. Counterfeited products can cause burns and skin problems, along with a whole number of other problems.

Electronics, toys, make-up, watches and designer clothes are all products that are often imitated and sold at attractive prices. Counterfeited products can even be found for ball bearings and spare parts for cars. There are several things to keep in mind to avoid buying products that could cause problems later on. Also remember, if something is too good to be true, then it often is.

Who has produced or is selling the product?

If you want to be on the safe side, buy products from authorised or well-known stores. You should not buy well-known brand products sold on the beach, streets or market squares. Always buy sunscreen at a pharmacy or at home before you travel. Watch out for shops that sell a high number of different luxury brands. They are most probably pirate copies. Never spontaneously buy toys and other products on the beach or close to the beach. You may think you have found a bargain, but it could end up costing you dearly.

What is the product quality?

Study the material and details. The material used for counterfeited products is often of a poorer quality. Take a close look at seams and labels. These are often sewn incorrectly and are untidy on counterfeited products. Check to make sure the brand name has the correct spelling and that there are no details missing on the logo. You should also check the lining and pockets on garments. The inside of a garment shall be as well made as the outside. Those producing fake products seldom have a good enough image of the inside of, e.g. a handbag, as they normally work from photographs.

What does the packaging look like?

Examine the packaging. Check to make sure the brand name on the packaging is the same as the brand name of the product you want to buy. Expensive fashion products are seldom sold in plastic packaging. Check where the product was made. Copies of beauty products and perfumes can cause severe allergic reactions. You could ask the Swedish distributor for the brand to track whether the product was made in the original factory by using the production number on the packaging.

Is the price reasonable?

Pay attention to prices for clothes, watches and jewellery. If the price is too good to be true, then it normally is. Compare with what the product costs in an authentic brand store. 

Do they provide a receipt?

Always ask for a receipt and keep in mind that products sold by private individuals may also be fake. Ask where they bought the product and request the receipt and any guarantees.

What to keep in mind when shopping online

Always check for contact information when shopping online so that you know who is sending the product and can contact them. If you are suspicious, send an email before buying anything and ask about the product to see if you get a proper answer. Have a look at the URL address for the website. Does it seem logical and reasonable enough to belong to a proper company?

Facts about counterfeiting

Counterfeiting is a growing problem in Sweden and the rest of the world, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish authentic products from fake copies. Around 50% of Swedish consumer who buy counterfeited products have been tricked into thinking they are buying an original product, and the financial value of these pirate copies is SEK 4.5 billion per year.

Facts about counterfeiting

Other sources

ECC Sweden's website