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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

Get your money back

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.

Report the trader to trading standards

The trader may have committed a criminal offence if they:

  • sold you fake goods
  • gave you a false description of the goods (Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008)
  • 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.

Report the issue to trading standards. They won't be able to get involved in your complaint directly but they may be able to take action against the seller.

Next steps

Other useful information

Citizens Advice

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