Last updated: 19 October 2022
The aim of fair trading is to ensure truthfulness of trade and prevent consumers being misled during contractual negotiations for goods and services. This legislation covers a wide area of consumer protection law including the selling of counterfeit goods.
Counterfeit goods (also known as 'fakes' or 'pirated' goods) are copies of things that people want to buy. The most common goods counterfeited are:
- Designer labelled clothes, watches, perfume and cosmetics
- CDs, DVDs, video and audio tapes (music)
- Computer software, e.g. games
- Vehicle parts
- DIY tools
Many of these items are protected by copyright or trademarks legislation which means only the original owner has the legal right to make them and earn money from them when they are sold.
Counterfeiting and piracy affects the whole community. Consumers complain about being ripped off and/or being exposed to harm from the goods, often having no redress when things go wrong; local businesses are unable to compete with sellers of fakes meaning they sometimes end up going out of business and criminal gangs intimidate legitimate traders and embed criminality and anti-social behaviour in the community.
In summary, the circulation of counterfeit goods can mean:
- Consumers buying poor quality or potentially dangerous goods
- Children being exposed to unsuitable harmful material
- Legitimate traders losing trade and being forced out of business
- Public finances being harmed through loss of tax and other revenue payments
- Feeding other serious criminal activity, e.g. drugs, child pornography, people trafficking
- Increases in anti-social behaviour i.e. intimidation and harassment
- It is strongly advisable, therefore that goods are purchased from reputable retailers.
For general information and guidance on consumer rights visit GOV.UK.
For general information, regulations and guidance for businesses visit The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Contact Waltham Forest Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service for civil advice and to report a problem with a trader or product.