Staffordshire Trading Standards is reminding people of the risks of buying and using counterfeit perfumes, following a recent seizure of items in the county.
Trading Standards Officers, supported by Staffordshire Police, made the seizure from a pop-up stall on Newcastle-under-Lyme High Street in July. The stall was selling counterfeits of popular brands including Lacoste, Gucci, Chanel, Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss. Bottles were being offered for as little as £20 each.
The sellers were reportedly approaching people and escorting them to cash points to withdraw money to purchase the items.
Trading Standards Officers are warning shoppers to avoid these individuals and to report the activity on the Fight the Fakes hotline (01785 330356). Officers are also keen to remind people that although the knock-down price of these goods can be appealing, counterfeit perfumes have previously been found to contain harmful chemicals and ingredients.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Perfumes are a high price item, which makes them attractive to counterfeiters which is why we’re seeing the rise in availability.
“Buying fake perfume is really risky; not only will it not have been through the usual testing, but many have been found to contain harmful chemicals. We know it can be difficult to tell if something is fake or not, but if it’s being sold at a knock-down price or being sold from a strange place, people should be extremely wary. We always say that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. It’s always best to stick to recognised retailers.”
To help avoid counterfeit goods Staffordshire Trading Standards advises people to look out for the ‘three Ps’:
Price: If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Packaging: If the product is being sold without its packaging, or the packaging appears to be of low quality, or includes printing errors (for example blurry pictures, typos, spelling or grammatical errors), it is probably counterfeit.
Place: Consider where the product is being sold. If it’s not in a recognised shop, ask yourself if you would normally expect to find the product sold in this type of environment.