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Counterfeit goods

If you think you've bought a fake item, you may be able to get your money back and you should report it.

Counterfeit goods include anything which pretends to be the ‘real thing’. This can be fake designer labelled clothes, shoes and perfumes, pirate DVDs and computer games, food products, alcohol, tobacco, car parts. In fact almost anything can be copied and sold as genuine. These days, technology means it’s easy for criminals to make sophisticated copies.

This page tells you what you can do if something you buy turns out to be a fake.

Top tips

How do you know if it’s a fake?

Examine and compare logos and holograms to identify genuine goods.

Buy from reputable retailers.

The dangers of fake goods

Making or selling fake goods is against the law. Sellers of fake goods can be fined or can even go to jail.

If you buy fake goods you could be:

  • harming your health
  • committing a crime. If you buy fake goods abroad, you could receive a fine. It’s also illegal to buy or download pirated material like songs and films
  • helping fund crime.

What you can do if your goods are fake

If the goods are not as described, for example, the advert for them or what you were told about them is not accurate or true, you may be able to get your money back. If you bought the goods online, this will be more difficult if there is no geographic address for the trader.

You may have been misled or there may have been aggressive selling, if the trader:

  • sold you fake goods
  • gave you a false description of the goods
  • made a false statement to persuade you to buy the goods. For example, if you were buying some medicine from a website and it said ‘90% of people say it works!’. Such a statement might persuade you to buy the medicine, but it could be false.
  • Find out about your rights if you've been misled

Next steps

Other useful information

Citizens Advice

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