COUNTERFEIT GOODS – FACEBOOK
The OFT is currently investigating a number of instances of Facebook being used as a medium to sell counterfeit goods.
In one instance, it would appear that a trader operating in the Merseyside and/or West Lancashire area created a page specifically targeting consumers in the Island. The trader concerned was offering designer wear and sportswear for sale with orders being delivered by an Island resident in his van.
In another instance, what appears to be an international scam is being perpetrated by as yet unknown persons believed to be from outside the Island using a Facebook page to sell very expensive designer handbags. The Facebook page provides a link to what may be a cloned website (http://www.justbirkins.com/) with a possible bogus local address as the contact address.
The OFT is also aware of an increasing number of buy/sell groups being set up on Facebook which may be targeted by criminals to sell counterfeit goods in small quantities.
John Peet, Chief Inspector of Trading Standards said:
"It is apparent that most individuals who make use of social media and online marketplaces to sell counterfeit goods are blissfully unaware of the fact that they could be being monitored by enforcement agencies. We regularly exchange information with other enforcement agencies both in and outside the Island. Anyone who is making use of Facebook to sell counterfeit goods should be aware of the fact that it is a criminal offence to do so and that anyone found guilty in court of selling counterfeit goods or of advertising such goods for sale would be liable to a substantial fine and/or a lengthy prison sentence."
Mr David Quirk MHK, Chairman of the OFT said:
"I will reiterate what I have said in previous media releases. The OFT will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action with respect to counterfeit goods to prevent dangerous or shoddy items being sold to unwitting consumers, to protect genuine businesses and to protect the rights of trade mark owners."
For further information: John Peet, Chief Inspector of Trading Standards, OFT - tel. (01624) 686526