Counterfeit items are common on vendor’s stands in major world cities — but Placentia, Newfoundland?
It’s not as uncommon as you might think, said RCMP Const. Mike Babstock, regional co-ordinator of the RCMP’s intellectual property crime unit.
While there are no solid numbers available on how big of an issue fake goods are in the province, there are indications that it’s a larger problem than the public might know, said Babstock.
The most common example is clothes. These counterfeits are usually sold in small retail locations, he said.
“We find a lot of small retail outlets like your corner stores and convenience stores often get brought in to selling counterfeits.”
These small establishments are usually approached by travelling salespeople or through the Internet. The salespeople usually have a reasonable sounding line they feed buyers to hook them, he added.
The most common one is, “It’s OK. We know that this is counterfeit. You can sell this as long as you don’t try to tell your customers that it’s real.”
Which is false. It’s illegal to sell reproduced copyrighted material.
It’s also surprising the breadth of items the RCMP seizes on occasion, added Babstock — everything from sunglasses to prescription drugs and electrical panels to TVs.
These items are generally sold for a reduced price from their authentic counterparts and are of inferior quality. There’s also a health concern as counterfeit products are made without safety standards.
Babstock brought up an incident from Prince Edward Island a few years ago where tourists received chemical burns to the bottoms of their feet after wearing knock-off flip-flops.
Anyone presented with the option to buy counterfeits would do well to think twice, he said.
“It’s the same old adage. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true,” he said.
In related news, the RCMP seized counterfeit shoes, sunglasses, handbags and other goods from a business in Carbonear last week.
The amount is called a “significant quantity” in an RCMP news release, which states the counterfeited brands include UGG, Nike, Adidas, and Reebok, among others.
The RCMP’s border integrity, federal enforcement section made the seizure, and the RCMP estimates the authentic items would have sold for $30,000.
The counterfeit versions sell for a fraction of the price, according to the RCMP release.
The RCMP is still examining the seized items, and the investigation is ongoing.
No charges have been laid.