Counterfeit Goods – OFT stop sales on the Island
The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has recently disposed of a substantial quantity of counterfeit goods, including chargers for mobile phones and portable music players, batteries and fascias for mobile phones, earphones, lanyards and portable speakers.
The goods were seized during a raid carried out by Trading Standards enforcement officers at business premises in the Island. The trader concerned co-operated with officers and voluntarily surrendered the goods for disposal. The trader accepted a formal caution. The OFT will not hesitate to take proceedings against anyone found to be selling counterfeit goods. It is an offence to sell or to have in possession for sale counterfeit goods. On conviction, a person is liable to a term of imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to £5000 or both.
Trading Standards enforcement officers have successfully removed significant quantities of counterfeit goods from the Isle of Man market over the past few years. Consumers sometimes believe that counterfeit goods are good value but they can pose a range of problems. Often difficult to tell apart from the real thing, counterfeit goods are much more likely to be shoddy than genuine ones. Worryingly, they are also more likely to be dangerous.
The Trading Standards Institute highlighted this issue following the death of a young boy who was on a family holiday to Thailand. Seven-year-old Connor O'Keeffe died in December 2006. He was electrocuted while using a counterfeit charger bought during the holiday.
Buckinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service recently investigated a case where a replacement charger for a games console exploded in a child's hand. The child narrowly escaped injury after the charger, bought for 99p on the internet, blew up.
As a result of the complaint, Buckinghamshire Trading Standards investigations found that 70% of a sample of 40 chargers tested were found not to comply with UK electrical safety regulations. The non-compliant chargers were being sold widely for mobile phones, games consoles, cameras and portable music players and were imported from China. Some were found to pose a risk of electric shock to users.
Counterfeit goods also pose a threat to local businesses who cannot supply genuine goods at the same low prices as the counterfeit ones.
The Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Mr Bill Henderson MHK advises consumers to be very wary of goods which cost substantially less than the normal price. “Counterfeit goods are often substandard and dangerous. I have made a specific request to The Office’s Trading Standards enforcement officers not to hesitate to make use of every enforcement power available to them under Trade Marks legislation to stop counterfeit goods being sold on the Island. These counterfeit goods can pose a real danger to the public and we will not tolerate it Remember – Don’t be fooled by a fake – if it looks too good to be true then it most probably is.”