Fake alloy wheels can become a significant safety problem for drivers
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations announced Tuesday the seizure of a shipment consisting of 844 counterfeit alloy car wheels imported into the island. The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of all the counterfeit products seized is approximately $238,000, had the goods been genuine.
“Purchasing knock-offs of high-end, high-demand products online does have an impact on the local economy,” indicated Leida Colon, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade. “Counterfeit automobile parts represent a significant safety issue for drivers who transit the islands roads and highways.”
According to car industry publications, the use of fake wheel rims can cause serious problems to drivers, as these products often do not pass the industry safety standards. When tested these fake wheels could not pass safety testing on potholes, a common occurrence in local roads.
The CBP San Juan Field Office, which comprises ports in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, has also seized counterfeit air bags, fog lights and tires among others items.
“We caution car owners to be extremely careful when making purchases online. The cheaper price is often deceiving, and consumers are unaware of the real threats posed by inferior automobile parts,” added Mrs. Colon.
The sale of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of revenue, robs American workers of jobs, and poses health and safety threats to U.S. consumers. Oftentimes, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales supports other nefarious and illicit businesses.
CBP has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program, through which CBP targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.
Despite these efforts, the internet has made it easy to find, purchase, and ship items from almost anywhere in the world. With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues.
CBP has established an educational initiative at U.S. airports and online in order to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.
If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please report the trade violation to e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
IPR violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.