MEMPHIS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding consumers to be alert for counterfeit goods while shopping for Mother’s Day on May 9.
On Wednesday, April 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs) at the port of Memphis, TN selected for inspection a shipment from The United Arab Emirates en route to Georgia, listed as gift bracelets and necklaces. The package contained no bracelets, but instead 550 pairs of earrings that bore trademarks owned by Chanel and Gucci that have been recorded with CBP for border enforcement. The earrings were determined to be counterfeit based on the inferior quality of the materials and their construction, discrepancies between the authentic product and the imported product, and the low declared value. The retail price of authentic Chanel and Gucci earrings of similar style is between $250 and $1,700.
Illicit manufacturers continue to exploit the rapid growth of e-commerce to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers in the United States. The online listings utilize images of genuine products, leaving the consumer with no way to know if the product behind that listing is genuine. CBP urges consumers to be vigilant: ensure the name of the seller or manufacturer is displayed and that there is a way to contact them should you have issues with your order. If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized more than 26,500 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.
CBP data indicates that handbags, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets.
“Counterfeit goods are poor quality products that cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year while robbing our country of jobs and tax revenues,” said Benjamin Canfield, Assistant Area Port Director. “CBP Officers at the Area Port of Memphis remain committed to stopping counterfeit smuggling; helping to protect our communities, including moms receiving gifts, from these potentially hazardous knockoffs.”
CBP personnel intercept counterfeit goods bound for consumers and marketplaces throughout the United States every day. Other recent CBP seizures include:
- $4.26 million of counterfeit jewelry in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Nearly $636,000 of counterfeit designer handbags, jewelry, and accessories at the International Mail Facility in Chicago, Illinois.
- $366,000 of counterfeit designer perfumes at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Counterfeit perfumes and cosmetics can contain harmful chemicals.
- More than 500 counterfeit iPhones bound for Miami, Florida. Counterfeit electronics can pose serious fire hazards to consumers.
In addition to posing potential health and safety hazards, counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality. Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging, and loosely packed items in the box can be signs that the product you purchased may not be legitimate. Counterfeit apparel and handbags may feature poor or uneven stitching and improperly sized or designed logos. The performance of counterfeit electronics is often marked by short battery life and regular overheating.
Consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods:
- Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
- When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and an address that can be used to contact the seller.
- Review CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
- Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
To report suspected counterfeits, visit CBP’s online e-Allegations portal or call 1-800-BE-ALERT. More information about counterfeit goods is available on CBP’s Fake Goods, Real Dangers website and StopFakes.gov.