Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How to spot a fake!..

We don't often come across fake goods, but it is always something that you have to be the lookout for, the general rule of thumb is that if it is too cheap then it is usually fake.

Of course we do not have that luxury to ascertain if something is fake by it's cost alone, as we are the ones who are having to price the goods we receive from our clients ourselves so we have to be constantly on the look out for anything that is fake.

The fakes that are in abundance on the market these days are usually pretty hard to tell from the genuine article so a keen eye is necessary.

Once only seen in flea markets and carboots, counterfeit products are now prevalent in the virtual world. Counterfeits are available through stand-alone websites, social media networks, and e-commerce platforms. 

While the Internet has provided unparalleled opportunities for legitimate businesses to grow and reach consumers all over the world, it has also increased counterfeiters ability to expand their operations. 

Even those looking for genuine products can now easily fall victim to counterfeit websites that use legitimate pictures and misleading pricing strategies to fool consumers.

Each brand you come across that are the target of fraudsters, have their own code for fraud spotting, and there are a lot of them.

Below I will highlight things you should look out for when dealing with Louis Vuitton.

1. Leather or not? Many Louis Vuitton bags are made of coated canvas, but the trim is leather. If the trim is supposed to be leather it should feel dry- not oily or slippery or sticky.
2. Is the stitching even? It should be perfect
3. Is there sloppy spots? There should be no back and forth stitching - that is a sign of sloppy construction that does not meet Louis Vuitton's high standards. Examine the bag carefully for this sign of possible counterfeit.
4. Does the pattern match? Look closely at the matching of the pattern in the outside seams. A company like Louis Vuitton which values it's logo, wouldn't divide the letters in a seam. And were the pattern appears on either side of the seam, it should match precisely.
 5. What colour is the lining? It should be precisely the same shade as the real thing - not a close approximation.
6. How does the hardware feel? It should be heavy - not hollow. If it's imprinted with the Louis Vuitton name make sure it is supposed to be.
7. Are there imperfections in the print?. Make sure that the LV’s are lined up and the material is not tilted. Monograms should be clearly printed gold letters with brown lines though the LV’s, not cut out, solid coloured, smudged, or have a greenish tint. The threading should look neat, thin and done with accuracy. If the LV’s are upright on both sides, it may be a fake. Many Louis Vuitton handbags have the logo’s upside down on the other side.
 8. Date stamps - Date stamp does not guaranteed authenticity. Whether your handbag has the stamp or not, does not prove that it is genuine. Louis Vuitton started to use date codes to mark their items in the early 1980′s. Counterfeiters are even copying these, so I would not recommend basing authenticity singularly on this. You may need to search for the date stamp, they are occasionally hidden and may be difficult to find in some models.
Examples of some Louis Vuitton date codes
FRANCE: AO, A1, A2, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, CT, DU, FL, LW, MB, MI, NO, RA, RI, SD (also USA), SL, SN, SP, SR, TH, VI
USA: FH, OS, SD (also France)

If you are dealing with brands make sure you know the brand you are dealing with, these brands have history and a certain way of doing things, that is what makes those brands so sought after and pricey, they are quality and have integrity.

According to Trevor Little at the Word Trademark Review the list of the most counterfeit brands in 2013 based on customs seizures reported through the WCO Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) database by its members, is an extensive one and includes the following

  1. Nike (1,123 cases)
  2. Apple (867 cases)
  3. Rolex (809 cases)
  4. Samsung (631 cases)
  5. Adidas (532 cases)
  6. Louis Vuitton (497 cases)
  7. Chanel  (464 cases)
  8. Cialis (425 cases)
  9. Viagra (365 cases)
  10. Gucci (307 cases)
  11. Michael Kors (285 cases)
  12. Otterbox (223 cases)
  13. Burberry (191 cases)
  14. Mac Cosmetics (182 cases)
  15. Walt Disney (182 cases)

People who use counterfeit trademarks to sell fakes can be penalized in two ways. First, the rightful owner can sue the person using her trademark falsely in order to obtain any ill-gotten profits. Second, a seller can be prosecuted under the Intellectual Property Rights Legislation. The Act makes it illegal for individuals to knowingly use a counterfeit trademark to sell goods or services.

So if you run a business dealing with designer brands, make sure you do not fall foul of the law. Get to know your brands and be on the outlook for fakes, ignorance is no excuse if you want to avoid either a hefty fine or lengthy prison sentence.

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