ST. LOUIS – Andrew Ghiassi and Zina Neal unknowingly purchased counterfeit goods online.
“When I originally looked at them, I was like these are not real Uggs. They’re horrible,” Neal said.
“That’s what really drew me in to thinking that it may have been a real product,” Ghiassi said.
The products were different but their stories are the same. It’s a story we’re hearing more often. A new Better Business Bureau report finds counterfeiting and intellectual property piracy costs the US economy $200-$250 billion and 750,000 jobs annually.
“What they’re finding sometimes is that these people are shipping this stuff into the United States and then they ship in the tags separately,” said BBB investigator Steve Baker. “When people order stuff, it’s shipped from the United States. Which means they’re not as likely to notice that it's counterfeit.”
From sunglasses to shoes, handbags to consumer electronics, no sector is safe. And here’s where it’s coming from.
“The government studies show 88 percent from China and Hong Kong. You do have some stuff coming from India, particularly counterfeit medicine,” Baker said.
Deceptive websites make it hard to tell real from fake and counterfeit goods are being sold online through retailers the public trusts.
“Don’t assume because it’s on Facebook or Amazon that the product is going to be real and not counterfeit,” Ghiassi said.
“I just knew something was wrong,” Neal said.
It’s really important consumers know who they’re really buying from. When reading reviews be on the lookout for fakes. If you buy something counterfeit, act quickly to dispute charges with your credit card company, ask for a refund and report counterfeit goods to law enforcement.
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