Be Aware of Counterfeit Products

13/04/2017 15:35

Be Aware of Counterfeit Products

16 January 2017

The Consumer Council of Fiji is reminding consumers to be aware of counterfeit products.This is especially during such times when consumers are engrossed in shopping for their children attending schools and universities. We believe that there are many parents who would be shopping for their children attending universities from later this month and next month.

Counterfeiting is prevalent in Fiji in the form of electronic goods, spare parts, cosmetics, clothes, shoes, bags, movies, music, etc. Counterfeit products are goods that are often of inferior quality, made or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner’s authorization.

In terms of school bags and backpacks, brands that are being targeted and produced as counterfeits include Adidas, Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Nike, Billabong, etc.

Consumers who wish to purchase branded items such as school bags, must know the authorised distributors of these brands and purchase items from their shopping outlets only.They should make informed decisions and not be lured by the traders.

Consumers can spot counterfeit by looking out for the following:

 Inspect the packaging carefully: Reputable businesses typically take great care in packaging their products. Beware of flimsy packaging, packaging with substandard printing or running colours, or packages that appear to have been opened. In addition, take a moment to actually read the package. Spelling or grammatical errors are common on the packaging of counterfeit goods.

 Logo/Markings: Look carefully at the logo and its quality. Counterfeits will usually have different fonts or sizes and slightly different colours.

The Council is warning traders selling counterfeit goods to refrain from misleading consumers about the standard and quality of products sold by them. This conduct of the traders constitutes a breach of Section 77(1) (a) of the Commerce Commission Act 2010. The provision states: “A person shall not, in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services falsely represent that goods are of a particular standard, quality, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use which they do not have”.

The sale of counterfeit products constitutes an infringement of the trademark for the respective intellectual property rights holders. Traders of such goods can be said to infringe on either the trade mark, patent or copyright of the brand owner by passing off its goods as made by the brand owner.

The Council is urging consumers to be vigilant whilst shopping. They can call the National Consumer Helpline toll-free number 155 to seek advice or to lodge any complaints against traders who are found selling counterfeit products. Consumers can also seek assistance from Fiji Commerce Commission in relation to their grievances.