It’s that time of year again! As we rush around trying to make sure that Christmas is perfect and that we haven’t forgotten anyone in our present hunt, it’s tempting to buy gifts at bargain prices to eke out the budget; but at what cost?
Just last week we were warned about counterfeit shampoos and body wash being sold at bargain prices from on-line retailers and at discount stores and markets across the country. In November, the BBC reported that thousands of counterfeit Peppa Pig toys, loom bands and Frozen princess dolls had been intercepted at Dover Docks.
Common sense tells us that you get what you pay for, and if it’s an incredible bargain, there is a reason. An American site, The Counterfeit Report lists products that are being counterfeited and describes how to identify a fake product. With increased internet purchases, the site is a useful place to check if you have concerns, and it currently has a whole array of products listed, from Burberry Umbrellas and GlaxoSmithKline Alli Weight Loss Aids to Chanel No 5 Perfume.
Toys are always a target for the fake market. Currently there are reports of toxic paints in loom bands and eyes that fall off toys. The obvious thing is to always buy from a reputable retailer, where you can be confident of your rights as a consumer. The key thing to look out for is the European Community (CE) mark on toys. All manufacturers, manufacturers’ authorised representative distributors and importers must comply with the Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 and the CE mark confirms that the item is intended to be used as a toy. The main requirements are that the toys must:
- Satisfy the ‘essential safety requirements’ in the regulations
- Be properly marked to ensure traceability
- Bear the CE mark
- Be accompanied by instructions for use, and warning where necessary.
The CE mark is a sign of both quality and safety. The product will have had to have passed rigorous standards, inspections and tested to have been awarded the CE mark. Products without the CE mark may not be intended to be used as a toy, but as a novelty or decoration and it’s not safe for children to use it.
If you identify a product that you think may be counterfeit then report it to Action Fraud
If you would like more information about current product recalls or the latest news on current counterfeit concerns, take a look at the Trading Standards website