The past few weeks we've spent some time on this blog exploring the costs and consequences of counterfeiting and how knock-offs can affect any brand, regardless of size. While the drive to save money can be a powerful incentive for a thrifty shopper to grab a product that is "close" to what they're looking for, the reality is, counterfeit items are a serious problem. Having educated consumers that know the difference between fake and real not only helps protect your bottom line, but also provides you with a valuable resource as they can alert a brand holder to suspicious products.
To lighten things up while still driving home this important point, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most hilarious counterfeiting fails we've found online. These counterfeiting attempts might seem silly, but the damage counterfeiting does to legitimate brands isn’t, which is why, along with these 10 cringe-worthy fails, we’re including 10 hard facts about why counterfeiting is anything but funny.
Feel free to share these tips with your consumers and help spread the word that counterfeit items are no laughing matter.
- Counterfeit products can be dangerous.
Counterfeit goods are usually made with cheap and substandard materials and may lack safety features that are standard on a legitimate product. Because there are no government inspections or regulations on counterfeit items, there is no guarantee that the item conforms to safety standards.
- Buying counterfeit items don’t actually save you money.
When you buy a counterfeit product, you’re usually buying a product that is low in quality. While you might initially save money buying a counterfeit product over a legitimate item, you’ll end up spending what you saved replacing the substandard product when it breaks or stops working.
- Counterfeiting discourages innovation.
Legitimate companies and designers faced with unfair competition from counterfeiters will be more reluctant to invest in research and product development if all their hard work is just going to be ripped off and mass-produced.
- Counterfeiting hurts genuine employees.
Via Flickr: Avery
Legitimate companies spend a lot of time and money on developing their products. When counterfeit products cut into a legitimate company’s bottom line, the loss in profits can directly translate into lower wages and lost jobs.
- Counterfeits make genuine products more expensive.
Often companies pass the costs of fighting counterfeiting along to consumers which means an increase in product prices.
- Counterfeiters don’t pay taxes.
Legitimate businesses are required by law to pay taxes. Counterfeiters don’t pay taxes. Profits for counterfeit items are estimated in the billions per year. This equates to millions of dollars in unpaid taxes that should be going back to education, hospitals, fire and police protection, parks and social programs/services.
- Purchasing counterfeit items supports organized crime.
Counterfeit rings have been linked in the past to organized crime with the profits going towards drug smuggling, human trafficking, child labor, street-gangs and even terrorist activity.
- Counterfeiting supports unsafe labor practices.
When you buy counterfeit items, you’re supporting sweatshops run by organized crime. Sweatshops are notorious for blatantly violating labor-laws and ignoring basic human rights. In many cases, the working conditions are unsafe, the wages are low, and in some cases, the employees are little more than children who are essentially modern-day slaves.
- Taking counterfeit items through customs is illegal.
If you do a lot of traveling, it’s not a good idea to bring along your knock-offs. While it’s not illegal (yet) to purchase a counterfeit item in the United States, it is a crime in many other countries. In many instances, the items will be seized by customs. Punishment for having counterfeit products may range from fines to actual prison time.
- Counterfeiting is illegal.
Bottom line, when you purchase a counterfeit item, you’re supporting an illegal activity.
Are you a brand holder who thinks the idea of your IP being knocked off is anything but funny? Have our team of brand protection specialists create a landscape analysis for you. We'll custom craft a full report detailing exactly where and how your IP is being used online.