“Watch out for fake goods and bogus websites this Christmas” warns Highland Council Trading Standards

The Highland Council Trading Standards Service is warning consumers not to be duped into buying counterfeit sports clothes and equipment from bogus websites, as part of the National Consumer Week 2011 campaign entitled “Good Sports Don’t Fake it”.

Parents and grandparents of sports fans may be considering buying designer football club sports wear and equipment or other designer sporting clothing such as trainers as Christmas presents.   Shoppers can feel overwhelmed by the choice available online for branded sports goods and clothing as search engines can throw up lengthy lists sellers.  Unfortunately not all websites shown are genuine and thousands of consumers are caught out each year.  Many consumers end up losing money by being tricked into buying counterfeit goods from bogus websites.  These sites can disappear overnight without trace and result in unsuspecting shoppers being left out of pocket with no means of tracing the business in question.

In order to combat this increasing problem for consumers the Trading Standards Institute has joined in partnership nationally with Brand Information Ltd (Brand-i).   Brand Information Ltd (Brand-i) was launched in 2011 to combat the increasing number of illegal websites offering fake goods and to direct the shopper to genuine websites for their favourite designers.  Shoppers can now search online with confidence, for goods from clothing to entertainment equipment as well as health and beauty products.  The address is www.brand-i.org/

David MacKenzie, Highland Council Trading Standards Team Leader said:
“We regularly receive consumer complaints from residents in the Highlands who unwittingly buy counterfeit goods.  As part of National Consumer Week 2011 and in the run up to Christmas we would encourage consumers to protect themselves by using the “Brand-i” website which lists genuine website addresses for sports goods and equipment.  

“The Brand-i website has an easy to follow A to Z brand website directory search and also offers tips and information on how to stay safe online along with information on how to avoid buying counterfeit goods from bogus websites.” 

Secondary schools in the Highlands have also been encouraged to take part in the campaign to combat counterfeit goods and bogus websites.

Mr MacKenzie added: “In the run up to National Consumer Week 2011, we have also contacted all secondary schools in the Highlands to highlight a free information and activity pack for students to use. The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has devised the teacher’s pack entitled “Good Sports Don’t Fake It”, and it includes discussion points and visual aids for student classes or groups to use.” 

Highland residents can also pick up a leaflet at their local library or Service Point which provides an easy checklist of what to look out for when buying goods online.  

Finally, Trading Standards also request that members of the public do their bit to counteract fraudulent websites by reporting them through the Brand-i website.  The “Report a Site” facility is also available on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brandiorg or at Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Brand-i/122958864425828”. 

Concerned consumers can also contact Highland Trading Standards if they suspect that they have bought fake goods. Consumers can visit or write to:  Highland Council Trading Standards Service, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness or telephone on: 01463/228700 free and confidential advice.
For further Highland Trading Standards news please go to: http://www.highland.gov.uk

15 Nov 2011