Counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods

Counterfeit goods are those which are presented as designer clothes, accessories, electrical goods or cosmetics which are fake but are presented as authentic. They are presented using the intellectual property of a well-known brand so the seller can make a large profit, even though to the consumer it may look a bargain. 

The primary legislation which impacts on these issues is the Trade Marks Act 1994

Protect yourself

  • Check the quality and labels first. It is easy to spot may fakes as their labels have spelling mistakes

  • If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be fooled into thinking you are getting a great deal

  • Get the trader to tell you if they provide an after sales service, warranty or guarantee. Most illegitimate traders will not

Spot the signs

  • You have bought an item and found its not made by the brand it claims to be from

  • It is poor quality, which might make the product unusable or even unsafe

  • Many counterfeit goods are sold at car boot sales, pubs, markets and fairs. This makes it difficult to trace the seller once the product has been bought.   

How it happens

Counterfeit goods include fake clothes, bags, accessories and perfumes that imitate recognised brands, as well as poor quality pirated copies of DVD's, CD's and computer games.

If consumers buy something that is not described or is not satisfactory quality, you have statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This means that you are entitled to a refund or an exchange of goods. However consumers should be very aware that sellers of counterfeit goods. especially those operating on-line are very hard to track down. 

If you buy counterfeit goods you may also helping the trader to break the law. The money spent ends up funding organised crime such as drug dealing. You are also contributing to job losses because genuine manufacturers are unable to match the prices charged by illegitimate traders. Some counterfeit goods may also be dangerous, as the people who manufacture them, do not follow the same quality standards that the manufacturers of the genuine goods follow. 

Press Articles

To see articles which details the type of counterfeit goods that trading standards deal with go to the Chronicle of the 7 March 2019, the Chronicle of the 8 April 2019, the Chronicle of the 29 May 2019, the Chronicle of the 27 January 2020, the Chronicle of the 21 December 2020, the Chronicle of the 20 September 2022, Tyne Tees of the 22 September 2022, Tyne Tees of the 29 November 2022, BBC News of the 29 November 2022 and the Chronicle of the 29 November 2022.


Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.  Email:



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Need more information?

Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Service, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email:

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