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Counterfeit goods a $30-billion industry

by Dino 20 June, 2008 View Comments

An RCMP search of a Windsor residence uncovered a luxury counterfeit watch operation police say pulled in more than $1 million US in sales.

Authorities said Monday the watches were sold online to consumers around the globe. Police seized counterfeit Rolex, Tag Heuer, Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Chanel watches from the home.

'Counterfeit goods represent a financial loss to legitimate businesses, governments and taxpayers. These goods are often cheaply made and not up to Canadian standards,' said Cpl. Anne Garneau of the RCMP's Windsor federal enforcement section in a release.

'Consumers should be very leery of purchasing high-end goods over the internet, especially if the goods are not being sold by authorized dealers.'-Cpl. Anne Garneau, RCMP

Police also noted that consumers should be wary of bargains that seem too good to be true.

'Consumers should be very leery of purchasing high-end goods over the Internet, especially if the goods are not being sold by authorized dealers,' Garneau said.

Michael Gittens, 28, of Windsor has been charged with offering and selling copyrighted goods and attempts to defraud.

The RCMP conducts more than 400 investigations into counterfeit goods each year across the country, while Canadian industry estimates the knock-offs cost it as much as $30 billion annually.

The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network says consumers should carefully scrutinize their purchases, particularly if the goods are offered for sale online.

Consumers should be wary if a deal seems too good to be true, the CACN says, noting that luxury goods rarely go on sale. Shoppers should also scrutinize packaging for spelling and grammatical errors and shoddy packaging materials.

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