CINCINNATI— During the holiday season, championship rings can be a fan favorite. Unfortunately, third party retailers are selling these counterfeit rings for top dollar conning the consumer out of a lot of cash. Most championship rings are made of cheap materials, are poor quality, and contain flaws. During the past three months U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati have seized numerous shipments of counterfeit championship rings, with many containing matching championship trophies.
During the months of October through December, officers intercepted 56 shipments of counterfeit championship rings. A total of 1,382 rings and trophies were seized. Officers suspected these rings to be counterfeit based on their origin and appearance. The cheaply made rings, which lack detail and quality, included Boston Red Sox World Series, LA Dodgers, Milwaukee Bucks, University of Kentucky Championship, and NASCAR Championship rings to name a few. Many of these shipments contained trophies such as the Vince Lombardi trophy to go along with the ring sets.
“Part of CBP’s mission is to protect American consumers from purchasing these counterfeit products,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director Field Operations-Chicago. “This seizure illustrates our commitment to stopping counterfeit products from China and protecting our nation’s economy and consumers from those intent on defrauding businesses and consumers alike.”
The shipments originated from China and were destined to residences throughout the United States. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price would have been $982,263 had all shipments been genuine. All the rings and trophies were determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), the agency’s trade experts.
Consumers can take these 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 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.
“Purchasing counterfeit sports memorabilia defunds our sports organizations,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie, “the money profited from selling fake merchandise such as championship rings, is used to damage the United States economy and fund criminal enterprises. I am proud of the officers in Cincinnati, they work hard to protect our domestic businesses and stop illegal shipments.”
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement is a Priority Trade Issue. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of American people. In partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP seized 26,503 shipments with IPR violations in fiscal year 2020. If the seized products were genuine, the total manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the items would have been valued at over $1.3 billion.
Over the past five years, e-commerce has grown exponentially as consumers are increasingly completing purchases online. These purchases are typically shipped through international mail and express courier services.
If you have information concerning counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States, CBP encourages you to submit an anonymous report through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System.
Follow CBP on Twitter @CBPChicago and @DFOChicago.