With last-minute Christmas shopping now in full-swing, Three Towns residents are being warned about the potential dangers of fake and counterfeit goods.
In particular, customers are being urged to be wary of traders offering cheap perfume, make-up, toys, designer clothes, alcohol and electrical goods.
A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council’s Trading Standards department said, “By purchasing fake goods, consumers are helping the trader break the law and many fraudsters use the proceeds from selling counterfeit goods to fund drug dealing and other organised crime.
“Buying counterfeit products also contributes to job losses as genuine manufacturers are unable to match prices charged by rogue traders. Many fakes are substandard, possibly dangerous and may even contain hazardous substances.”
The Council’s SNP Cabinet member for Economy and Employment, Cllr Marie Burns, advised extra vigilance in the run-up to Christmas, saying, “The sale of counterfeit goods is illegal and it can be extremely difficult to seek redress in the event of something going wrong. For this reason, it is important to remember the old adage that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Cllr Burns noted, “It is also important to be aware of the huge consequences for those caught selling counterfeits – heavy fines, imprisonment and a criminal record. Those caught selling fake goods at their place of work also risk losing their jobs.”
The Trading Standards spokesperson said, “ We can all guard against knock-off goods by carrying out due diligence – buy from a legitimate supplier, such as a reputable High Street retailer to ensure you can return goods if something goes wrong.”
Trading Standards can be contacted on 01294 310100, and consumer advice is available from North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service on 01294 608142.