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Risks when buying counterfeit products

- - 10. September 2015

There are good reasons to avoid counterfeit products. Counterfeit products are often of a poor quality and they may be unhealthy and unsafe. In addition, trade in counterfeit products is often linked to organised crime.

Counterfeit products are found within many areas, ranging from batteries, electronics, spare parts and furniture to food, cosmetics, bodycare products, clothes, accessories and medicine.

Counterfeit products have been manufactured with a view to selling a cheap product with a high profit. So there are good reasons not to buy counterfeit products. 

Counterfeit products are often of a poor quality and they may be unhealthy and unsafe. Typically, the counterfeit product does not comply with the health and safety rules that the original product observes. Nor does the counterfeit product meet the same requirements for quality and materials.

Further information: Rules on purchase of counterfeit products

Labels are also counterfeited

You cannot trusts labels on counterfeit products as they are also counterfeited. If, say, the CE label is copied, this does not mean that the CE label on a counterfeit product provides the necessary guarantee that the product meets the European minimum requirements. For example, clothes or toys may contain illegal colouring agents. There is also a risk that bodycare products contain allergens or illegal chemical substances, or counterfeit electronic products may pose a safety risk due to e.g. explosions, fire or electrical shock. 

Furthermore, counterfeit products are a problem to society as trade in counterfeit products is increasingly conducted by criminals who use the profits to finance other types of organised crime. This is pointed out in a new report on trade in counterfeit products in the EU prepared in by Europol and the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.