Legit Make or Convincing Fake? What To Do If It Turns Out To Be A Knock-Off

March 17, 2014

Fakes, knock-offs and pirated goods; up until a few years ago, you only had to worry about buying fake goods in certain areas of the world, and these stretches were generally known for it. Today, these goods (if you can call them that) dot the online landscape. From high-end fashion brands like Chanel or Burberry to mainstream brands like Nike or lululemon, shoppers need to heed the ‘Buyer Beware’ moto more than ever to make sure they’re not tricked into buying knock-off merchandise.

Shoppers looking for a bargain online are an easy target, if they’re not careful, for counterfeit goods that are sold as authentic. Fake retailers go to extremes by building online stores that mimic the exact look-and-feel of the real brands’ websites, capturing logos, product descriptions and photos from the real deal. These fake websites can even fool those who know the brand well.

Can you tell who is who? These are screen shots taken on March 17th, 2014.

Is it fake, or real? Canada Goose

Canada Goose website: fake or real? Canada Goose website: Is it fake or real?
Answer: The one on the left is real. If ever in doubt about the legitimacy of a website that sells Canada Goose products, Canada Goose has a search engine on their site that will tell you if the retailer is authorized by Canada Goose or not. Check it out: Canada Goose, Is It Real Or counterfeit?

Is it fake, or real? lululemon

lululemon website: Is it real or fake? lululemon webiste, is it real or is it fake?
Answer: The one on the right is real. If ever in doubt about the legitimacy of a website that sells lululemon, you can view the lululemon registered e-commerce sites at: lululemon.com – Brand Protection.

Getting Ready To Buy? Protect Yourself First

How do you protect yourself from getting scammed? Consider the following tips:

  • Visit the brand’s corporate website and look for the authorized list of resellers.
  • Do some research on the brand to learn about its policies on seasonal sales, discounts, and online sales. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Contact the brand directly to confirm the authenticity of the website you’re planning to buy from.
  • Look for poor grammar and spelling, and shoddy photos on the site. A big brand wouldn’t make these types of mistakes.
  • Look closely, really closely, at how the brand’s name is spelled on the site, logo or in the URL. Counterfeit websites, often say they are authorized and lead you to thinks so by including all or parts of the brand’s name in the domain name.
  • Look at the contact details listed on the site. If the contact email address is a Hotmail, gmail, Yahoo or any other email provider like these, run, don’t walk, away from the sale.
  • Read online reviews about the website (not the brand) and look for complaints.
  • Trust your instincts.

What If It’s Too Late?

Even the most seasoned online shopper, can be tricked, and it’s happening to more and more of us. According to the RCMP, they’ve seen an upward trend in the number of cases involving counterfeit and pirated goods every year since 2005. But what can you do if you’ve fallen prey to the scam?

Contact the merchant and tell them you want to return the item and get a refund. Chances are, this isn’t going to work—they’re scammers after all—but you have to at least try.

Contact your credit card issuer and request a chargeback. A chargeback is basically exactly as it sounds; a purchase is reversed, in whole or in part, by the credit card issuer once a bad transaction is reported. Do this as soon as possible as many credit card companies have policies in place that limit refunds after a certain period of time—usually between 40 and 180 days from the date of the transaction.

Get organized and get proof
To improve the chances of a successful chargeback request, prepare a collection of records. Include all communication between you and the online merchant (emails, invoices, receipts, packaging slips, actual items you purchased, etc.).

Get a list of the brand’s authorized resellers, or reach out to the manufacturer to get confirmation that the product purchased is not legit. Alternatively, you could also take the item to an authorized store to validate its authenticity. Photos of the counterfeit product, and screenshots of the website you bought from may also help.

Get a virtual witness
Collect records and screenshots, if they’re available, of other buyers also talking about their negative experiences with the merchant. These forums can be used as additional proof that the company you dealt with is not authentic.

Report the fraud

If you were sold counterfeit merchandise, or suspect that you were the target of a fraud, report it:

  • Tell the real company or brand; companies take these frauds seriously and would want to know.
  • Tell your credit card issuer, and ask them if there’s anything more that can be done—or should be done.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.