Highland based seller of fake designer labelled goods, convicted at Inverness Sheriff Court

A woman based in the Inverness area was sentenced following conviction at Inverness sheriff Court on the 14th November 2013 for the commission of offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 for offering or exposing for sale a substantial amount of counterfeit luxury goods through her “Facebook” page.

The women, Donna Stewart, 36 years old, who plead guilty to 20 charges relating to the sale of fake goods which she advertised on her “designerthings forless” Facebook page was sentenced to a Community Payback Order, to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work over the next 9 months.

The case was reported to the Procurator Fiscal by the Highland Council’s Trading Standards service, following an investigation that had been initiated as a result of intelligence received from Brand Protection Services, who are employed by various Trade Marked brands such as Henley’s and Paul’s Boutique.

During the investigation nearly 200 items with a street value of approximately £4000 bearing brand names including Pandora, Links of London, Thomas Sabo, UGG, Superdry, Barbour, Jack Wills, G-Star, Rolex, Chanel, Louis Vuitton were seized from Stewart and later verified by the Trade Mark holder’s representatives as being counterfeit.

Gordon Robb, Trading Standards Manager warned consumers to avoid being stung by sellers of poor quality counterfeit goods from websites or through social networking sites. He stated, “A scenario we are seeing more and more often is UK-based individuals selling fakes through a range of social media platforms.”

2013 saw an increase in complaints and information to Trading Standards about the use of the internet to sell fake goods, especially clothing, handbags, perfume, jewellery, shoes, headphones and hair straighteners.

Gordon Robb continued, “Consumers are entitled to expect that the goods they buy from the internet are as described and of the quality associated with any named brand. Trading Standards wants to send a strong message to anyone in the Highlands considering engaging in this illegal trade that we will take whatever action is necessary to prevent consumers and businesses losing out.  Sellers of fake goods cheat consumers, undermine legitimate businesses, threaten jobs; Consumers who seek to knowingly buy fakes, apart from ending up with what can be seriously substandard goods, should also think carefully if they really want to support the criminal lifestyle of those involved, which can extend far beyond what they may see as the harmless sale of fakes.”

Anyone with information regarding the supply of counterfeit goods can contact Trading Standards in confidence at trading.standards@highland.gov.uk or telephone 01463 228700.

15 Nov 2013