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The Real Cost of counterfeit products - Scan2know

It’s no secret, we all want cheaper products. Fact. Fake football jerseys are on every street corner from Kampala to Kansas to Kyoto and what all clubs must face head-on to keep their profits high. The prices of their merchandise are staggering with your home FC Barcelona jersey retailing at 90€. On the other hand, a ‘decent’ fake on the street can be found for as little as 5€ so I completely understand why people opt for the cheaper version as keeping a family fed and found is not always easy. No harm is done, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not true, there is an ocean of difference between authentic shirts and fakes at the corner ranging all the way from quality to economic harm to many nameless, faceless people in the supply chain. We don’t their names but trust me, they are being hit by on the corner sales.

The Premier League in the UK has already seized £4.6 Million (Sterling) worth of fake jerseys and counterfeit merchandise with multiple attempts at cracking down on this alarmingly big market. Even with this coordinated law enforcement effort the ‘fake’ market thrives and yet clubs don’t seem to want to budge on their prices so you and I are faced with the same financial question, buy at the corner or go to the official shop and spend a hell of a lot of money on my shirt!

Many analysts believe that until such time as sales are impacted at official retailers and clubs are losing so much money, they are forced to address pricing, nothing will change at the cash register. But it’s not only the club’s fault, society plays a part in that we as football fans continue to be willing to pay for premium prices for our jerseys, until we can’t anymore…and wake up holding ourselves accountable for the dozen or so fake jerseys upstairs.

Another issue across all fakes in the market is 30% of the public can’t recognize a fake, so to combat this we must educate ourselves on this subject. The premier league is rewarding its anti-counterfeit partners by hosting its inaugural International Enforcement Agency of the Year award – part of efforts to protect rights-owners and stakeholders from counterfeiting.

A further issue is the impact to business and business owners who provide essential tax revenue for governments not only through direct transfers like corporation tax and income tax of employees but also through the sales tax that is levied on their products. Indeed, sales tax is estimated to represent between 70% – 90% of the financial losses that the displacement of genuine economic activity (a fancy way of saying fake market) brings about.

The BASCAP report estimates that the reduction in sales tax across countries as a result of displacement effects (fake) could total up to US$89 billion per year. This means fewer funds in the public coffers for essential public goods like schools, hospitals, roads and other basic infrastructure that in turn stimulates job growth. Your fake jersey is DIRECTLY affecting governments and businesses and we have to stop turning a blind eye to the facts.

Because fake/counterfeit goods are not subject to the regulatory standards and production norms that govern legitimate products, their consumption can pose serious health risks. A large proportion of alcohol poisoning deaths in Russia for instance—which numbered over 17,000 in 2012—are thought to be caused by counterfeit drinks with hazardous ingredients. Using counterfeit products are a huge health risk and it’s real, people die from fake goods.

Do you want to know more about the sports sector, my favourite topic?!

Between 1992 and 2014, police and brand enforcement officials with the National Hockey League (NHL) seized over 10.6 million counterfeit goods items of its hockey teams. These types of fakes consist of counterfeit or replica jerseys, t-shirts and hats of NHL hockey teams that are unauthorized. According to the NHL, the retail value of the counterfeits seized over the 12 years was worth over $405 Million. Source: Lisa Balde, “NHL Warns Blackhawks Fans of Counterfeit Merchandise,” NBC Chicago, May 19, 2014. At the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, an estimated 35,000 counterfeit Hockey Canada jerseys were available for sale, according to the licensing manager of the team. During the 2010 Winter Games, security officials and brand trademark enforcement officials were able to seize about 17,000 counterfeit jerseys.

My friends, the counterfeit market needs to be stopped as it hurts all of us, governments, business, women, children, society as a whole.

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Sadly we live in a world that is becoming increasingly swamped with fakes. These can come in two forms: fake news and manipulation of video images and the spoken word – which is a more recent but equally worrying phenomenon – as well as the more visible and an age-old problem of product counterfeiting, though the sophistication and quality of these latterly is rising.

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