Even if you’re not in the market for designer bags or clothes, knowing how to spot counterfeit merchandise is a must to avoid getting duped. This is especially true since common targets include cosmetics, perfumes, computer software, jewelry, and more! The latest issue of ShopSmart lists tips to learn how to spot a fake and what to do if you’re sold inauthentic merchandize. I summarize them below.
Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Seems obvious, but many fall for the “bargain.” Finding products at steep discounts can be a sign that it’s a fake.
Become a counterfeit detective. Research online to see what the differences are between the real and fake product. Trust me, there are some dead giveaways for some of these things. Many designers have information on their websites about detecting and avoiding knock-offs, so start there.
Skip shopping online. There’s just no way to inspect products before they arrive and you have to rely on photos that may be phony. If you like the convenience of shopping online, it can be done, but it takes a few more steps.
Check out a sellers reputation. Unless, you are shopping on a trusted retailers website, check the seller’s reputation. A quick search for the seller’s name and words like “rip-off” or “complaints” can spare you a headache later on. If you’re shopping on sites like Amazon and eBay, consider the seller’s ratings.
Use an escrow. ShopSmart suggests using an escrow service like Escrow.com where your payment will he held until you can inspect the merchandise. Skip this step by using sites like eBay that promise to refund your money if you end up with counterfeit products.
Swipe your credit card. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to use plastic. Like this you’ll be able to dispute charges.
If you end up with a fake, here’s what to do:
Demand the real thing. By law you’re entitled to the real thing. The retailer’s return policy doesn’t apply.
Get your money back. If you can’t get the real thing, you’re legally entitled to a refund.
File a complaint. Let authorities know you were sold a fake by contacting your state consumer officials.
Have you ever been sold fake merchandise?
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