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Trading Standards share their top tips on spotting fakes at car boot sales

As the Easter holidays approach and the start of the car boot and outdoor markets season, Staffordshire Trading Standards are reminding people how to protect themselves from counterfeit goods.


Counterfeit goods pose significant risks to both consumers and legitimate businesses.  Some typical goods include counterfeit hair styling products that can cause electric shock, fake designer makeup which can contain dangerous, prohibited chemicals and fake designer clothes and footwear, which can shrink or fall apart.  They all cost honest businesses dearly and put jobs at risk.


Officers have offered the following advice on avoiding fakes:


  • Research before you shop: Familiarise yourself with the brand and its authentic products before making a purchase.  Check for distinctive features and branding elements that separate genuine items from fakes.


  • Inspect the packaging carefully: Examine the packaging for signs of poor quality, misspelled words, or differences in logos and labels.  Legitimate products typically feature high-quality packaging, with clear printing and branding.


  • Be wary of unbelievable deals: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Exercise caution when encountering heavily discounted products, especially in unconventional retail settings like car boot sales.


Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: "As we approach the Easter Holidays and car boot sales increase, it's important for shoppers to remain vigilant and informed.


"By following these simple yet effective tips, people can protect themselves and help in supporting genuine businesses.


“Counterfeit goods are not just available at car boot sales.  They are also widely available online and on social media networks, so it’s important for people always to be on the lookout for them.  While fake products may seem harmless, they are ultimately the responsibility of organised criminal networks, operating both within the UK and overseas.  These same criminals engage in drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other serious crimes. Instead of supporting legitimate businesses and the broader UK economy, sales of counterfeit goods harm us all.”


It is estimated that counterfeiting costs the UK economy around £9 billion every year.



People can report sales of counterfeit goods by calling the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.


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