As Christmas draws nearer the police and Trading Standards are continuing to clamp down on counterfeit goods in Manchester.
In the last week the police and Trading Standards have launched a massive operation seizing over two million pounds worth of counterfeit goods in the Cheetham Hill and Strangeways area of Manchester.
This follows a similar operation carried out in Bury last week. Conrad Astley, press officer for Manchester Trading Standards, said: “Wherever possible, we seize these goods, taking them out of the supply chain, and prosecute those we find responsible.”
Consumers are advised to always go by the old adage that if something looks too good to be true then they should steer clear of it. If goods look suspiciously cheap they are usually fake and should be avoided and reported to Trading Standards.
Mr Astley said: “Goods are often of inferior quality, with poor quality fabrics used. Items like toys or electrical goods may not have proper safety markings such as the CE mark, and may also not have the importer or manufacturer’s name or address.”
With regards to identifying counterfeit alcohol, Trading Standards, have issued the warning that it may look cloudy or a different colour to usual. The label is also often a giveaway sign as it may not be stuck down straight and may contain spelling mistakes.
The health implications of counterfeit alcohol are extremely dangerous. Fake vodka has recently been found to contain methanol, used as paint stripper and can blind and kill.
Other common counterfeit goods sold that are popular in the festive season include cosmetics, electrical goods and UGG boots.
Trading Standards have raised concerns about counterfeit goods not being subjected to the necessary safety checks require. Counterfeit electrical items have been known to electrocute people and mobile phone batteries have overheated and exploded in the hands of users.
If you buy counterfeit goods you are putting yourself at risk of accidents of this nature.
Fake cosmetics have recently been found to contain urine and chemicals which burn the skin. If cosmetics aren’t sold at a make-up counter or in a recognised chemist there is a risk they make be fake.
A common indication of fake perfume is if the metal sprayer at the top is rusted the liquid may contain urine. Anyone who sees this is encouraged to contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506.
Mr Astley was keen to emphasise that any goods seized are recycled appropriately once they have been used as evidence. Counterfeit clothing is often given to a charity that removes the fake brand names and then ships the goods to Africa. Any counterfeit alcohol is destroyed and the bottles are recycled.
Consumers are reminded that in the current economic climate they should restrain from buying cheaper goods.
Firstly it is damaging to legitimate businesses and brands. Secondly, counterfeit goods are usually of a very poor quality and the consumer will have no way of getting their money back.
There are also even more sinister implications of buying counterfeit items, Trading Standards have said that counterfeiters do not pay any money in to the tax system and are often involved in other illegal activities that have so far ranged from money laundering to the supply of guns and to the extremes of terrorism and child pornography so before you consider buying fake goods, think about where your money is going.
If you are in any doubt when buying goods online visit www.brand-i.org where you can check all registered traders for goods.
As a parting note Mr Astley said: “You might think you’re getting a bargain, but there are many dangers involved in buying counterfeit goods, not least to the consumer.”