Counterfeit Goods Online

With many people dealing with tighter budgets and trying to make their money go further when shopping online, consumers may be at risk of purchasing cheap counterfeit goods, including toys, electrical products, clothing and cosmetics. Counterfeits are often dangerous and poorly made and fail to conform to UK safety standards.

Scammers are also posting adverts on social media/search engines
that clone big brands and offer special deals or bargains.

Issues with Counterfeit Goods

Counterfeit Electrical Products

  • Energy saving devices are being advertised online that promise to help you save on energy bills. Many of these are highly dangerous and fail basic safety testing, potentially posing a fire or electric shock risk.
  • 1 in 10 people in the UK have experienced an electric shock or fire after buying fake electrical products online.

Buy electrical products from a retailer you trust – either direct from the manufacturer’s website or a trusted High Street name. Electrical Safety First’s Check It Out browser extension will remind you when you are not buying directly from the manufacturer or a retailer you know and trust.

Counterfeit Toys

  • Many toys sold via third-party sellers on online marketplaces do not meet UK safety standards – online marketplaces are not responsible for ensuring that toys are safe
  • Problems found with counterfeit toys include access to small batteries and magnets, which could cause serious harm if ingested, and long cords which pose a strangulation risk. Some products also had incorrect age warnings, which could result in babies and toddlers accessing unsuitable toys

When buying toys online, it’s safest to stick to trusted brands and suppliers you’ve used before.
Check that the seller is licensed by the brand holder to sell their products and that the product description states that the toy is an original.

Counterfeit Cosmetics/Clothing

  • Unbranded and counterfeit
    cosmetics can contain dangerous chemicals and are unlikely to have gone through safety testing
  • Fake designer clothing and accessories advertised through online marketplaces are often poorly made, unsafe and stored in filthy conditions

If you see a branded bargain, check that the seller has been authorised by the official brand and is listed on their website.

Avoid Counterfeit Goods Online

  • Where possible, buy from trusted brands and reputable retailers
  • On toys, look for the Lion Mark or CE marking
  • Check that the seller is licensed by the brand holder to sell their products
  • Check that the product description states that the toy is an original
  • Look closely at the product listing – are the images blurry or low quality? Are there spelling mistakes in the description or packaging? These could be signs of counterfeit products
  • Check the price – if the product is a lot cheaper than in official stores, it may not be genuine
  • Use the Electrical Safety First Check It Out tool or the Vistalworks Checker to check whether online marketplace listings are likely to be fake