Counterfeit goods at Christmas are becoming an increasing problem for gift-shoppers and Onbuy has conducted a survey among 1,837 members of the public and identified that electronics and toys are the most likely product categories to be non-legit. Furthermore, a claimed 7 in 10 Americans have received fake products in the past.

Electronics and toys were most likely to be countefeited, according to 74% of respondents, followed by shoes (69%), clothes (63%), bags and accessories (60%) and finally cosmetics/perfumes (41%). Respondents were also asked how they first realized a purchase was a fake with 29% saying that incorrect or inconsistent branding on the delivered item was the biggest indicator. Other (possibly obvious) indicators of counterfeit products were faulty, low quality or dangerous products arriving, a lack of communication with a seller, and missing accessories or parts.

To avoid getting scammed, most Americans would retrospectively consider seller reviews before buying next time (69%), cross-checking products with those from a brand’s official website (62%), checking Ts and Cs to ensure a return if needed (54%), and checking a website’s security (51%). A majority of US shoppers are unaware that fakes they receive are likely to be dangerous. When asked if they knew fakes aren’t safety tested as rigorously as genuine products, 71% said no (29% yes).

To avoid complications while gift giving this Christmas, founder and managing director of OnBuy.com, Cas Paton has provided the following tips:

1. Always be suspicious – if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Triple check any particularly impressive deals or prices; they may be impressive for a reason.
2. Use company/brand keywords when searching – this will help to weed out fake sellers and push legitimate ones to the top.
3. Check reviews and seller info – We’ve seen a dramatic increase in fakes, but it can still help to consider reviews. View as many as you can to get the overall picture, and assess whether: the seller has a track-record of selling these items, if they have a US address, etc.
4. Cross-check where possible – what better way to validate a product or seller than comparing them with the official website?
5. Appraise products thoroughly on arrival – check for official addresses and CE marks, untampered seals and packaging, consistent branding, or anything that will indicate a product’s (in)authenticity. If anything doesn’t seem right, report and try to refund the item. Speaking of which…
6. Report fake sellers – Most online marketplaces allow you to report a seller you think may be fraudulent. Do your bit to combat the rising circulation of counterfeit goods.

Published by

Martin Dew

editor