For every genuine item that exists there is a counterfeited replica. As soon as a new item enters the market, counterfeiters are never far behind, producing something that on first glance looks exactly the same. They have no limits; designer clothing and accessories, electronics, dvds and cds, toiletries and toys are just some of the objects we have on display at Seized! the Border and Customs Uncovered.
Many of us have at some point unwittingly bought a counterfeited item and this is most likely to have been bought on-line. The internet is a prime market for the counterfeiters as we are unable to physically inspect an item, we can be deceived by glossy images and seductive prices, plus, it’s easy for the seller to disappear once they have your cash, with no offer of an after sales service or a guarantee. Generally, if you think it’s too good to be true, it usually is!
Often we don’t realise the implication and the potential dangers of buying counterfeit goods. Thoughts of poor quality, child exploitation and profits ending up in the pockets of criminals are not at the forefront of our minds when faced with a bargain price on what appears to be a genuine handbag.
Counterfeit items constantly change to reflect trends so it’s important to us that we document them through the objects on display and used in our handling sessions. One item currently on trend is a Nutri Bullet, at first glance this product seemed genuine; glossy, high quality box, complete kit with additional literature and recipe books. A closer look revealed small spelling mistakes and grammatical errors amongst the text, and in reality, the blades would probably only last a few months before snapping.
Counterfeit objects seized by UK Border Force on display at Seized!
Other items seized by the UK Border Force include MAC cosmetics that were found to contain high levels of mercury and Bobby Brown cosmetic brushes infested with lice. One seizure had a potential value of £10 million! There's also fake prescription drugs coated in road paint and designer sunglasses without UV protection, amongst many other objects.
Border Force officers are usually particularly busy in summer, with millions of holiday makers returning from their holidays, some likely to have a counterfeit item amongst their luggage. Such items will be seized and confiscated and in some circumstances, they may even face prosecution. There is a much darker side to counterfeited goods, not only are they poorly made with no safety standards, counterfeiters do not pay taxes and VAT, so this damages legitimate businesses. Profits often help to fund the world of organised crime, child labour, drug dealing and people trafficking.
Lead image: A convincing counterfeit Nutri Bullet