Consumer Alert: Counterfeit products on the rise as supply chain problems persist
Experts say counterfeit products are being sold online, fueled in part by supply chain problems.
Not only are consumers being ripped out by knockoffs, but fake toys could be putting children in danger.
Michael Hanson works with Buy Safe America Coalition, which found in a recent study that U.S. retailers lose about $54 billion in sales each year from counterfeit products.
The supply chain problems are only going to increase the amount of American people purchasing fake products.
“People are going to be looking for certain goods,” Hanson says. “Criminals are going to know that, they’re going to produce these knockoffs. That’s going to be really harmful.”
Some of the products can be poorly made and have small parts that children can choke on. Others could even contain lead.
Amazon says it’s invested $700 million and hired more than 10,000 people to protect its stores from fraud and abuse.
An Amazon spokesperson wrote that: “This biased study was funded by large brick-and-mortar retailers who compete with online marketplaces and view small businesses who sell products online as a threat. While counterfeiting has always been and remains a problem in the global retail industry, fewer than .01% of products sold on Amazon last year received a counterfeit complaint from a customer.”
Chuck Bell, of Consumer Reports, says that online counterfeits are increasing.
He says shoppers need to read reviews carefully, research the seller and be away of very cheap prices.
“If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Bell says.
Anyone who buys an item that is counterfeit can ask the third-party vendor to accept a return or complain to whatever platform they bought the item from.
There is also a government website for reporting counterfeit goods.