Back Four Brand Protection

Back Four

Counterfeiting, anything but a victimless crime: Harms and risks associated with fake goods

‘It’s not a crime. The big brands charge too much – that’s why people buy fakes’

‘Football shirts get changed every year. Clubs should be more reasonable if they want people to buy the official shirt’

‘Real fans can’t afford £60 for a shirt but still want to support their club by buying a piece of merchandise – whoever makes it.’

‘Fakes are just as good as the real thing and much cheaper.’

‘Big brands make loads of money and can cope with a few fakes.’

Many of us have purchased fake product (25% of UK consumers purchased counterfeit product last year*) and many feel counterfeiting is a victimless crime, especially if it’s a well-known brand losing out. These companies have deep pockets right, so what’s the big issue with a fake football shirt or designer handbag?

Counterfeit product

However, perhaps if you knew some of the harms and risks associated with counterfeiting, you’d think differently?

Whilst some brands make more money than we could ever dream of, all brands start somewhere, with a simple idea, investment in creativity and innovation, making huge sacrifices, working incredibly hard and building consumer trust and reputation.

We champion these companies. They put the GREAT into Britain! They adhere to law, legislation, rules and regulation, they pay their taxes and business rates, they ensure their products are safe, adhering to health and safety standards, they nurture those involved in the manufacturing process and ensure they are paid a fair wage and provided with benefits.

Counterfeiters on the other hand …….. don’t.

Think twice before buying Counterfeit for…

…our Economy

Counterfeiting costs the UK economy £17.3 billion and 72,000 jobs a year**. Counterfeiters don’t pay taxes or business rates and therefore make no financial contribution to our economy, meaning we all lose out in the long run.

Counterfeiting also reduces the profits brands generate, undermining legitimate high street trade and again reducing monies that can be reinvested in our country, which in the current climate are crucial.

How do you feel about others not paying their taxes and contributing to society?

…your Consumer Rights

Whilst at the time it might appear like you’re getting a good deal, inevitably when your counterfeit product breaks or fails, or is no longer fit for purpose, you can say goodbye to a refund or any exchange, as no statutory consumer rights exist. Think you’re covered under your guarantee or warranty? Think again!

We talk in more detail about this in our Wear Test blog here.

…your Safety

There are some truly horrific stories relating to counterfeit product, where permanent life changing injuries have occurred and in worst cases, even fatalities. The dangers of counterfeit products are very real – counterfeit products will not have undergone thorough product safety checks and therefore may be dangerous, so be aware of the serious risks.

Would you give your child a fake toy if there was a risk of choking? Take a look at this article.

There are also those risks associated with the actual purchase of a fake. Much of the counterfeit trade is now conducted online, with some websites responsible for scamming consumers, stealing personal data, spreading viruses and malware and even committing credit card fraud.

…Illegal reasons including Crime and Terrorism

Counterfeiting is illegal and there is evidence to suggest it has significant links to organised crime and terrorism. (See this article from IP Pro Magazine). Organised crime syndicates use proceeds from counterfeiting to fund other more serious activities and sometimes also traffic illegal immigrants to assist with the manufacture of fakes.

It has been reported by Interpol *** that terrorist groups have also turned to trafficking fake consumer goods to support their activities.

Do you want to support and contribute to organised crime and terrorism?


We don’t know where counterfeits are produced or the conditions in which they are produced. However, most factories producing fakes, don’t adhere to those conditions most of us would expect from a workplace, with staff working long hours, in poor and sometimes dangerous conditions. Furthermore, employees are paid poorly, treated badly and in some instances, children are employed to work.

If you could see what was happening and where your fake was coming from, would you still make the purchase?

…your Morals

Imagine you came up with a great product idea and you invested your life into making this a success. Now consider someone comes along, copies your product and makes money off the back of your creativity, efforts and hard work. How would that make you feel? It would suck and it’s not fair. Next time you think about fake product, put yourself in their shoes.

We hope this blog has given you some insight into the harms and risks associated with buying counterfeits. Whilst fakes might seem like a good deal, is it morally right and are the risks and harms associated worth the investment?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this area as we know it’s a hot talking point. Talk to us @backfourbp on twitter, Instagram and Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.

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