Don’t fall at the first hurdle when buying sports merchandise

2021 is a year of sport with the Euros, Wimbledon and now the Olympics to enjoy this summer, writes Trading Standards officer James McCluskey.

If you’re tempted to show your support with some team-branded merchandise, be on the look-out for unscrupulous traders hoping to capitalise on the team spirit by selling fakes.

Remember, it’s not just clothing that can be counterfeit – it’s illegal to sell any item with a brand logo without permission. Mugs, clocks, scarves and badges can all be counterfeit – and it’s illegal to sell them even if the seller tells you they aren’t genuine.

Fakes are not just a quality issue, as worryingly they can often be unsafe, having not been through proper testing processes and sometimes containing dangerous substances.

In the past few months alone, North Yorkshire Trading Standards have received reports of traders in the county selling fake watches, clothing, cigarettes and mobile phone accessories.

To make sure you don’t end up with a knock-off, here are our top tips for dodging the fakes:

Buy from a reputable seller

  • Is the seller an authorised retailer? Some companies will only allow certain retailers to sell their product. Only use sites you know or ones that have been recommended to you.

Do your research

  • Have a look online and search for product and seller reviews – what are other people saying?
  • Check the price.
  • Seems like a bargain? Designer and sporting brands will rarely offer their goods at rock-bottom prices, so remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Look at the packaging

  • If the brand new designer item is wrapped in a cheap cellophane wrapper, it’s probably not the real deal. Also, keep an eye out for spelling mistakes, blurry logos or generic-looking tags.

Take action

  • If you suspect an item is counterfeit, don’t buy it. Report any fakes to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.