Fake, snide, counterfeit, bogus, forgery, copy, phoney, sham, dodgy, iffy, knock-off, imitation. Lots of words, same meaning: COUNTERFEIT.
What is counterfeiting?
Counterfeiting is first of all the imitation of a product and unauthorized use of another's trademark (registered brand name, logo, scent, design, etc.). The counterfeit, identical in appearance, gives the impression of being the genuine product from the real manufacturer. Of course a knockoff is only meaningful if the genuine article is well-known and in demand. Therefore, most knockoffs are of luxury goods carrying a well known trademark. They are a deliberate attempt at deceiving consumers into thinking they are buying products made by a reputable manufacturer when they are, in fact, purchasing inferior copies.
Counterfeit goods are generally of poor quality and don't come with any guarantees or after-sales service. They don’t have the same quality control procedures as the genuine article and could well be unsafe. Factories producing these goods don’t follow basic hygiene procedures and the items are often made in ‘sweatshops’ using child lab our.
The counterfeiter sets out to make money by deception . . . deliberately assuming the identity of an established, reputable manufacturer. Thus, he saves the normal capital investment required to produce a genuine, high quality product. The counterfeiter does not have to invest in expensive quality materials or quality control since he is producing an inferior product. He has no need to spend money on research and development, or advertising and marketing since he is riding the shirttails of a manufacturer who has already invested heavily in developing and promoting their brand. So, his overall costs are low in comparison with those of the genuine manufacturer, allowing him to sell his product copies more cheaply.
What you can do
The most important thing you can do is to say ‘NO’ to counterfeit goods. Follow this simple checklist:
- Be wary of bargains. Remember - if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- Check the quality of the goods. Fakes will not be as good as the real thing.
- Check labels and packaging for spelling mistakes and poorly printed logos.
- Be careful at markets, car boot sales, pubs and computer fairs, or other places where you may have difficulty contacting the trader after purchase