Shop Smart: Avoid Counterfeit Goods When Shopping for Back-to-School – uschamber.com | Candle Made Easy

Record-high inflation is hurting a range of consumer goods – including popular back-to-school products, backpacks and shoes; to laptops and tablets; to artist supplies and sports equipment. Families with elementary to high school children will spend an average of $864 shopping for back to school. Total spending will exceed $34 billion 5.8% more than in the previous year.

Families understandably want to find the lowest prices; but not at the expense of the health and safety of their children. Because of this, it is important to understand the nature of counterfeit goods and learn how to avoid them. Counterfeit criminals are preying on vulnerable shoppers this back-to-school season, and their tempting offers are a hidden danger.

Getting Bad Grades: Buying a counterfeit product can save you money in the short term, but if it breaks you’ll spend double or more to replace the product. Headphones that are knocked off could fall apart or worse, expose your child to toxic chemicals. Counterfeit clothing can only be washed once before it becomes unwearable.

passing the exam: When consumers, businesses and governments work together, we can help stop the scourge of the counterfeit trade. The US Chamber of Commerce is already working with the US government to raise awareness of counterfeit back-to-school products.

You can also get involved by educating yourself and others on how to #ShopSmart for safe, authentic goods. These top ten tips are a good place to start:

  1. Trust your instincts: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Insist on secure transactions: Make sure your payments are being sent from sites that start with https:// (the “s” stands for secure) and look for a lock icon at the bottom of your browser.
  3. Watch out for missing fees:
    Criminals who deal in counterfeit goods often fail to report their sales to tax authorities, thereby omitting sales tax and other fees. This often results in a noticeable difference in the final price. Attention buyers.
  4. Looking for quality assurance in the secondary market: Reputable and reliable resellers have extensive inspection and authentication procedures and technicians to inspect the equipment they sell.
  5. Be careful when buying medicines online: Over 96% of online pharmacies do not meet any safety or legal standards. To find an accredited digital pharmacy, check with the National Association of Pharmacists’ Associations.
  6. Caution when buying abroad:When shopping on international websites, look for trusted vendors that have identifiable privacy safeguards and reasonable return policies.
  7. Protect your personal data:Illegal websites often install malware that can steal your credit card information and other information stored on your computer.
  8. Examine labels, packaging and contents:Look for missing or expired dates on perishable items, broken or missing security seals, incorrect warranty information, or otherwise unusual packaging.
  9. Report counterfeit products:Report unsafe counterfeit productsUS Customs Border and Protectionor theNational IPR Center.
  10. Spread the word:Share these tips! Tell your family, friends and colleagues about counterfeits.

How big is the problem of counterfeit goods?

  • A very big problem:The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was worth up to US$509 billion in 2016. From 2000 to 2019, US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seizures of infringing goods increased from 3,244 to 27,599. It is estimated that counterfeiting has led to the loss of more than 2.5 million jobs and more than €60 billion in lost tax revenues in the G20 economies worldwide.
  • The Dark Side of Counterfeit Goods:Lost revenue and lost jobs pale in comparison to lost lives. The counterfeit trade has well-documented links to domestic and international terrorism, child labour, drug and arms trafficking and other criminal activities. In addition, counterfeit goods themselves pose significant security risks. For example, counterfeit backpacks and shoes can contain excessive amounts of harmful chemicals; counterfeit electronics may melt, catch fire, or explode; and counterfeit toys can hide undisclosed choking hazards. Worse, counterfeit cleaning products, medicines and cosmetics have left victims with serious injuries – some fatal.

Download the top 10 tips for #ShopSmart

About the authors

Kasie Brill

Kasie Brill

Vice President, Brand Protection and Strategic Initiatives, Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), US Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, Global Brand Council, US Chamber of Commerce

Brill is Vice President of Brand Protection & Strategic Initiatives for the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) and Executive Director of the Global Brand Council.

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