Phone beeps, a notification arrives, ‘End of year Sale.’
Well, I have received a hundred like these in the past few days. Undoubtedly, I have checked online twice or thrice for my favourite brands.
We all love to shop and if the price gets reduced by 50-60%, it’s a sheer delight.
I always had a feeling that Sale discounts are not-so-genuine. But the feeling was always pushed aside, and I always bought things at great prices!
Maybe, I needed a reality check and I got one recently when I woke up to the news that 40% of apparels and 60% of sports goods sold online are fake!
An investigation carried out by News18 found that counterfeiters are taking advantage of the loopholes in the Information Technology Act and selling counterfeit goods online!
Moreover, as expected, online retailers are brushing aside from taking responsibility by claiming to be intermediaries.
To know the reality, News18 accompanied brand investigators on one such raid recently.
Accompanied by local police, a raid was conducted in Brahmpuri area of Meerut and many counterfeit products were recovered. These fake goods were being sold on popular e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Shopclues, and Snapdeal. Majority of the fake goods recovered were sports goods.
Mohit Bandhu, the seller confessed that the balls of COSCO that they are selling online, at huge discounts were actually counterfeits. An FIR has been registered against him and all sports goods have been retrieved.
The seller confessed that these fake balls are brought from nearby places and sold online. These goods are usually bought for Rs. 170-180 and sold online for Rs. 450-500.
He further said that MRP is shown to be Rs. 900-1000 and the customers are then lured by offering 40-50% discount.
When the matter was further probed, online bigwigs like Shopclues, Flipkart, and Snapdeal issued statements and denied any wrongdoing.
The government has also issued a statement saying that strict actions will be taken against the culprits.
Its been a while, that internet is flooded with such news, but they gather spotlight for few hours and then disappears forever.
A lot is said but very little is done. The government, manufacturers, retailers and consumers cannot act independently to combat a problem like counterfeiting.
It’s high time, we all join hands and take a unanimous decision.
As individuals, we need to understand how we can safeguard the consumer rights and make sure they receive nothing but authentic.
Starting from the government, there should be strict punishments or fine for people involved in the manufacturing, selling and purchasing of counterfeits.
Secondly, as manufacturers, we should safeguard our products that immediately gives an indication to the customers that they are buying genuine or fake products. There are certain anti-counterfeiting products and solutions like security holograms, security labels, security pouches, holographic wads, shrink sleeves with a holographic strip, tax stamps etc that can play a major role in combating counterfeiting.
These anti-counterfeiting products can be equipped with QR code, barcodes so that at every step of the supply chain, authentication can be verified.
Thirdly, as consumers, we should pledge not to buy counterfeit products and report the sale of any fake product immediately to the concerned authorities.
We need to understand that counterfeiting not just harms the brand reputation and dupes money but also promotes illicit trade and cause job losses on a great scale.
We urge everyone to stay away from the business of counterfeiting in every possible way!
By Ankit Gupta
Group Director, Holostik Group