montblanc pen price How eBay’s ‘designer’ bargains are just too good to be true
A spokesperson said: “Counterfeits are a global issue and not just an internet challenge.
“We work with rights owners and proactively remove counterfeits from the site when we find them.
“Ebay removes thousands of items from the site every week, although in the vast majority of cases this can only be done with help of [copy]rights owners, as only they have the expertise to identify relevant counterfeited items.”
Ruth Orchard, director general of the Anti Counterfeiting Group, which represents 200 organisations and is trying to stop the counterfeiting of branded products, says: “Counterfeiting has risen by more than 10,000 per cent in the past two decades globally, while in the UK the market is worth at least 14 billion a year.
“We strongly advise people not to buy any luxury goods on eBay.”
Ruth adds: “Apart from losing hard earned money buying worthless items, there are serious safety issues with fake products for sale such as perfume and other healthcare goods.
“Also, the people selling these products are criminals and you are handing over your personal details, like your address, to them. How safe is that?”
Markets, car boot sales and certain foreign holiday destinations are notorious for providing cheap replicas of luxury brands which often fall apart before they’ve even got home but now cyberspace is providing an increasingly lucrative place for fraudsters selling high end phoney goods.
Its most famous auction website, eBay, is a prime target for such conmen.
A quick glance online shows tens of thousands of items claiming to be “genuine designer” items of clothing, jewellery, watches and handbags.
It’s almost impossible to tell whether something is real or fake.
Normally if you were trying to decide if something was real, you could pick it up and really examine it to make sure.
But on eBay, buyers are entirely reliant on photographs, which are often of poor quality and can even be of the real item, whereas what is sent to you will be a fake.
We soon discovered that if the picture is genuine,
there are some giveaways to look out for particularly if you are able to compare it to its real counterparts on the brand’s official website.
This was obvious, for example, with classic designs such as the “Please Return to Tiffany Co’s New York 295” key fob, because some of those we saw on eBay had lettering which was inconsistent with the original.
On the whole, counterfeits are shoddily made.
Wallets and bags tend to be sewn unevenly, so it’s worth studying the stitching, lining, fastenings and logos on goods either on the screen or when they arrive, if you do buy one.
One “Louis Vuitton” wallet had poor stitching, which gave it away, and the brand’s authentification stamp was on a different side of the wallet than the original another common mistake by counterfeiters.
There are myriad tricks eBay sellers use to try to fool unsuspecting buyers.
One tactic is to photograph an item with the brand’s logo on display in the background.
We bought a Gucci necklace and earrings separately but from the same seller, who posted photographs of the pieces perched on a plump chestnut cushion surrounded by a Gucci labelled carrier bag and a delicately placed Gucci ribbon.
All this paraphernalia created an illusion of authenticity about the products, but crucially there were no close up photographs of the jewellery and no hallmark detail could be garnered from the distant shot on screen.
Within seconds of being handed the goods after they arrived in the post, a Gucci store sales assistant confirmed they were all fake.
We discovered it is also relatively common to come across an item on eBay that carries a brand’s name but is not a copy of a known design.
We bought a fake Chanel necklace which was pictured on a shiny black box with the brand’s trademark overlapping Cs.
In reality, the necklace was of shockingly poor quality the gold had rubbed away on the chain, leaving an unsightly green tinge, and the words “Chanel, 31 Rue Cambon, Paris” were printed, rather than engraved on the charm.
Chanel later confirmed that neither the design nor anything similar existed. The same occurred with a Versace “Signature” shoulder bag, bought from a seller who insisted that her products were genuine.
But it is by no means foolproof.
If someone gets too many negative comments,
they can simply set up another account under a different name and begin again.