We are living in a period where anything and everything can be counterfeited at the click of a button. What once was possible only through skilled labours and highly-equipped technologies has now made access everywhere. Counterfeiting has become an epidemic disease spreading its wings all over and immersing everything that comes in its way and sparing no sector.
When we talk about counterfeiting, we start blaming the counterfeiting companies for manufacturing such goods and the government for not implementing serious measures against them. But, in contrary, we are the real culprits who should be blamed for the vast spread of counterfeiting activities.
In quest of having branded collection of bags, apparels and shoes etc majority of us have shifted towards counterfeited products knowingly or unknowingly. The urge to get Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci etc in our wardrobes has led us to buy relatively cheap replicas for obvious reasons; saving money. In our cheap bargains for designer labels, we forget the real and hefty price that comes with it.
Like others, counterfeiting market too works on the demand and supply chain. The higher the demand more is the production of counterfeit goods. It has been observed that these counterfeiting goods producing companies often hire cheap or child labour to work in hazardous working environment. These companies not only violate standard working conditions protocols but also give rise to a number of occupational hazards. The counterfeited goods are made from cheap and substandard raw materials that have all the abilities to put the health and safety of everyone involved at risk. Both manufacturing and purchasing counterfeits is illegal and can be punished under law. Counterfeits usually employ child labour to work in inhuman working conditions in order to save money and what better than children who have no idea about the consequences and rightful wages.
It is believed that the revenues and takings generated from counterfeiting sales are linked to funding crime activities, drug trafficking and even terrorism.
Counterfeiting puts a big hole in the pockets of legitimate manufacturers who devote significant time, energy and resources to research and development of products and building an image of trust and credibility among consumers. Counterfeiters, in turn, seek to profit unfairly off of another company’s good name. It not only drains the companies economically but also ruins their years of reputation.
The above said reasons is just a glimpse of the blunder counterfeit goods can cause and this list is by no means whole-hog. The myriad negative consequences of counterfeiting described above portray the need of the hour which is to take proactive steps to combat this growing epidemic.
According to sources, the Department of Homeland Security seized counterfeit goods valued at over $1.7 billion at U.S. borders in Fiscal Year 2013. It would not be wrong to say that Counterfeiting is a large-scale enterprise. According to the International Chamber of Commerce, it accounts for 5 to 7 percent of all global trade. However, according to The Economic Impact of Counterfeiting and Piracy, a 2008 study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, data on the subject should be viewed with a sceptical eye. The report states that the assessment of the government and industries on counterfeiting “rely excessively on fragmentary and anecdotal information; where data are lacking, unsubstantiated opinions are often treated as facts.”
On account of low or no statistics, there is no feud that counterfeit goods pose considerable threat to consumers. The notion that it is a victimless crime is by no means true. Counterfeit products victimise almost everyone they encounter right from an infant to a 90 year old.
Globally, the trafficking of counterfeit goods is much larger and growing and sadly this growth is not driven under pressure but by choice of the consumers. We, as consumers can take the first step to stop buying fake stuff and go with the original pocket-friendly goods.
We can go a long way in boycotting counterfeiting goods, if we always remember a very famous quote which says, “Strike a cheap bargain and be ill at ease ever after.”