Too good to be true

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RCMP warns shoppers after seizure of counterfeit dry goods

The RCMP border integrity, federal enforcement section seized a number of suspected counterfeit products from a business in Carbonear last week. Above are some of the items, including allegedly counterfeit footwear such as UGG, Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Other merchandise seized consisted of various suspected counterfeit designer handbags, including Coach, Ed Hardy and Chanel. Several different brand name sunglasses, including Oakley, Ray Ban, Gucci and CHI Hair Irons were also seized. — Submitted photo

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.


Health concerns

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.

Organizations: RCMP, Nike, Adidas

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • David
    April 03, 2012 - 15:23

    Counterfeit goods are found wherever there are people with money, but without either the personal ethics or the basic intelligence to avoid taking part in a scam. Welcome to the Avalon, Louis VooTon and Roll-X!

  • Tony Seaward
    April 03, 2012 - 12:21

    So which is it, Placentia or Carbonear?

    • Busy Bayman
      April 04, 2012 - 05:48

      Carbonear. It's the store next to Don's Restaurant.