We’ve all seen them – those cheap knock-offs of designer brands – possibly, while shopping at some hip bodega in a large city or at your local flea market. The most popular of these items are typically designer handbags and shoes, as these are the must-have purchases to complete any latest fashion trend. With a growing online market, it has become easier than ever for even the most casual of buyers to keep up with the ever-changing fashion industry. To the untrained eye, even the most poorly made knock-offs can pass for the real thing. While it is great that companies are making cheaper alternatives for products of some of the world's most well-known brands, there is a difference between knock-off products and counterfeit items.
Unfortunately, the counterfeiting market is a booming industry across the world as many buyers are wanting to achieve that high end designer look for that thrift store price. Buying and selling fake goods can destroy the reputation of a legitimate business. It can decrease their rightful profit margin and hurt their overall business.
A knock-off item is one that is designed to mimic a legitimate product without misrepresenting the logo, so the buyer knows that he or she is not purchasing from the actual brand. Counterfeit items, on the other hand, are designed to replicate the actual product and mislead the buyer into believing they are purchasing the authentic product. These are more stealthy and made to deceive consumers, as they try to pass off as the real product. Brand-savvy fashionistas with astute eyes may be able to spot the difference between a counterfeit item and a fake designer handbag by looking at the stitching and other minor small details, but Average Joes looking to snag a high-price item at a huge discount are unable to tell the difference. In America, it is not necessarily illegal to accidentally purchase counterfeit items, but it is illegal to turn around and sell them to another unsuspecting buyer once you realize they are in fact fake goods. Knowingly selling counterfeit goods is subject to legal action by law enforcement agencies. If convicted, someone may face a fine of up to 2 million dollars and a jail sentence of up to 10 years. In addition to facing charges for trafficking or selling counterfeit goods, the accused party may also face civil charges for copyright infringement, unfair competition, trademark infringement and trademark dilution.
Unfortunately, the counterfeiting market is a booming industry across the world as many buyers are wanting to achieve that high end designer look for that thrift store price. Buying and selling fake goods can destroy the reputation of a legitimate business. It can decrease their rightful profit margin and hurt their overall business. Not only does the counterfeiting industry impact the actual business whose product they are trying to replicate, it has further ramifications that most consumers may not be aware of. What you may not know is that whether you’re purchasing a knock-off pair of fake shoes or buying counterfeit designer goods, you are causing a huge impact on the world around you.
In order to help combat this epidemic, consumers must beware of their purchases. If a bargain seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Although it might seem like a good idea to buy that $300 dollar designer bag for $10 from some street vendor, just be aware of the dire consequences that your purchase may come with. Better yet, just save your hard-earned dollars for a purchase that will be more worth it.
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