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Summer bargain hunters warned about risks of buying counterfeit goods at car boot sales

Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2023
1. Car Boot Sale NR

Image of a Car Boot Sale in Staffordshire

With car boot sales proving more popular than ever and many planned for the Bank Holiday weekend, Staffordshire Trading Standards is reminding people of the potential risks of buying fakes.

Counterfeit goods including fake designer clothing, accessories, electronics, and cosmetics are becoming increasingly popular at car boot sales and buyers are being urged to remain vigilant.

Last year the team successfully removed £2.8 million worth of counterfeit goods from the marketplace in Staffordshire. Officers are also keen to remind people that counterfeits can pose significant threats to people’s health, safety, and the economy.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, is reminding people not to be tempted to buy counterfeits, regardless of the cheaper prices.

Victoria said:

"We want people to enjoy their time over the Bank Holiday weekend especially if they’re visiting a car boot sale or market.  We all love a bargain and you can certainly pick them up but you do need to be careful that you’re not accidentally buying counterfeits.

“Buying fakes will most certainly leave you out of pocket.  It not only fuels illegal activities and harms genuine businesses but also poses serious health and safety risks. For example, fake electronics can be hazardous, and counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes may contain harmful substances.

“We know there are scammers out there who will prey on unsuspecting buyers and I would always urge people to be cautious and take those simple steps to protect themselves from these risks."

Some advice from Trading Standards officers on avoiding fakes includes:

  • Research brands: familiarise yourself with the appearance and packaging of genuine products of popular brands to be able to spot potential counterfeits.
  • Examine products closely: inspect items carefully for poor quality, misspelled labels, and irregularities in logos or trademarks.
  • Check prices: be cautious of heavily discounted prices, as they could be an indicator of counterfeit goods.
  • Ask questions: don't hesitate to ask sellers about the products' authenticity and the source of their goods.

People can report the sale of counterfeit goods to Trading Standards on the confidential helpline on 01785 330356.

Further advice on spotting counterfeit goods can be found on the Citizens Advice website.

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