The problem of counterfeiting or duplication has become ubiquitous. From, millennials to old folks the menace of fake or duplicate products has crept into everybody’s life. Whether its something as simple as a toothpaste or something highly sophisticated as an electronic component used by military counterfeiting has plummeted business growth, tarnished brand image, jeopardized national security and ruined public health. According to Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, “The total amount of counterfeiting globally has reached to 1.2 Trillion USD in 2017 and is bound to reach 1.82 Trillion USD by the year 2020”.
The figures are quite dismaying and reflect a grave problem which is on the rise. Besides many factors, lack of awareness among consumers is a big reason responsible for the growth of counterfeiting. It is quite challenging to stop a consumer who deliberately buys a counterfeit but an innocent consumer who is not aware of the menace can be warded off if he is made aware of some basic points. No doubt, remaining vigilant and staying updated are the best measures to counter duplication. If you are aware of the following seven red flags or signs, then you can prevent yourself from being duped by a counterfeit or a fake product, to a large extent.
1.Unbelievable discounts: For many, it may be quite tempting, but the lure of unrealistic discounts offered online can be no more than a bait. You must assess how much discount is typically available on the branded products. If the discounted price is hard to believe for example 75-85 % of the MRP then the product you are buying has high chances of being a counterfeit.
2.Poor packaging: No brand will ever compromise with packaging. Credible and recognized businesses always spend a considerable amount of money on packaging. If the packaging does not fit properly with the product, is made of cheap raw material or is improperly applied then these could be red flags of a counterfeit product. Similarly, if the product comes without packaging then it also falls in the domain of a duplicate.
3.Mistakes in grammar: Have you ever seen products with brand names such as Adibas, Dolce & Banana, Red Labial or Calein Klvin? Well, these incorrect spellings of some of the most popular brands have become a butt of jokes on social media. Such brand names often attract those customers who are illiterate or are just concerned with the looks of the product. Make it a habit to check the spelling and grammatical mistakes mentioned on the product labels. You can also match the same with the official website of the brand.
4.Online authenticity: Nowadays, online shopping is bearing the brunt of counterfeiting. If you want to guard yourself against a fake product online, then you must always go for a website with ‘https’ and a lock symbol instead of ‘http’. In addition, you can check the authenticity of a website through the following links: http://tools.weburlopener.com/scam-website-checker and http://www.scamfoo.com.
5.Substandard quality: No wonder, poor quality of a product is a big turnoff and at the same time, it is a sign of a counterfeit. Dull and poor quality of the cloth fabric, fake leather and shabby looking plastic or metallic elements are never used in a branded product. If you have been already using a product of a specific brand for a long time, then you can easily spot a fake.
6.Check the codes, model number, logos etc.: A company prints codes, model numbers, trademark, patent information, logos and many other minute details. A counterfeit will often miss out some of the information while copying. You can easily cross-check such information from the company’s website or the customer care department. As far as logos are concerned they can also be verified with the company’s or brand’s website. A closer introspection will work wonders in identifying a duplicate product.
7.Check the contact details and accessories: Manufacturer’s always print the physical address, phone number, e-mail and other such contact details on the packaging of the product or on the labels. If it’s missing, then it should be a cause of concern and a sign of a possible counterfeit. Also ensure that the product has all the supplementary parts, instruction guide, and accessories mentioned on the package. If anything is missing it may hint towards a counterfeit product. While buying a product from a store open the box and check it properly whereas in case of an online purchase make a video recording of unboxing while receiving the delivery which will serve as proof.
By Ankit Gupta
Group Director, Holostik Group
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are personal and does not guarantee that each of the points, red flags or methods to determine a counterfeit is completely accurate and may or may not work with different products.