If you’ve ever ordered a designer bag or the latest gadget and were disappointed when it arrived, you’re not alone. Counterfeit goods have become a $461 billion industry because of companies taking advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Here are some ways to avoid buying these knock-offs so you know you are getting the real deal.
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Use a Credit Card
Although it won’t necessarily protect you from receiving counterfeit items, one way to protect yourself is by using a credit card when you purchase the order online. This way, when you receive the item and determine it is fake with no retailer to be found, you can ask to get your money back.
Using an Aspire MasterCard Debit Card or another debit card backed by a credit card company? Simply sign for your purchase rather than using your PIN .
Know Common Counterfeit Items
Luxury items are at the top of this list but other products include: clothing, jewelry, purses, food, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, airplane parts, car parts and toys. Often times, these items go undetected as being counterfeit because manufactures have improved their skills in producing counterfeit items.
One of the best ways to spot a fake item is by comparing prices. A common indicator is that the price is too good to be true, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s website for their retail price and compare it with the price of where you are ordering from. If there is a big difference between the two prices, it is very likely counterfeit. The manufacturer’s website may also offer information as to how to check the authenticity of the product.
Investigate the Website
Before going forward with the checkout process, search the website for a few indicators of a false site:
- Search for a physical address, phone number and return policy. If you can’t find any of these, it’s probably fake.
- If the site is not secured with an “https” in the web address at the point of sale, be aware of giving out your personal information as it is most likely fake and not secure.
- Is the brand name spelled correctly and does it match exactly? For instance, “Ray-Ban” compared to “RayBan.”
Also, check the manufacturer’s website to confirm what retailers sell their items. If the company you’re purchasing from is not on the list, it’s time to find another site.
As with any purchase, be sure to check the products reviews and complaints. If you are buying something like antiques or memorabilia, find an expert to appraise the item to ensure it is real.
If you feel you have been sold counterfeit goods, don’t wait too long to pursue the issue and get your money back. Make sure to do your research before following through with your purchase!