KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Nike are all well-known and expensive brands that are often copied. So, just how common are fake goods in East Tennessee?
Counterfeit items are nothing new to the U.S. economy but they do produce some risks. With no oversight into how these items are made can bring up several issues.
Myra Loveday, the director of Retail Strategy and the Rocky Top Institute of Retail at the University of Tennessee told WATE about the risks and how we can protect ourselves from buying fake items.
“It is a $600 Billion industry and the demand is there,” she said. “People are wanting more luxury, designer products and products that have that protected patent or that trademark or copyright because it is in demand.”
There is no oversight into how these counterfeit products are made leading to harmful chemicals being used and labor laws being broken.
“Counterfeit products can be very dangerous because there is really no safety regulation criteria that its meeting and because it’s not meeting the actual brand, USPTO and other patent regulations,” Loveday said.
When people decide to buy a luxury item, they are buying the company’s name as well as the high quality that people are accustomed to with that particular brand.
“We really want to make sure that we are paying for the value, we are paying for the great quality and we are paying for the lifetime guarantee of these items,” Loveday said. “If we aren’t doing that and we are paying for the luxury bands and the real products then we are suffering trying to take the cheaper route.”
Loveday explained that brands like Louis Vuitton will never put their LV logo over a seam, so it is important to know brands’ quality standards.
“We can tell some of those things, whether it has identification inside of the product if it’s apparel,” Loveday said. “Definitely with the baby food and dog food counterfeit categories, that’s been something that has been harder to tell because of so many of the copyrights being copied right onto the packaging.”
She also said that consumers may not be well versed in telling which producers are real and which one’s are faked. It is the retailer and reseller’s responsibility to do their own due diligence to know which products are protected by intellectual property rights and knows that the brands they are selling are 100% authentic.
A Knoxville man is currently facing charges including money laundering after officers conducted a search of a clothing store that was accused of selling counterfeit items.
If there is suspicion that you have been sold a counterfeit item, you can call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 to report the business the item was bought from.