Oct 26, 2022
The months from October to December are considered the hot phase of consumption. Black Friday, Cyberweek and Christmas keep the tills ringing in online stores. As the cost of living rises, many consumers want to save as much as possible on their budgets. But those who are led by fantastically low prices in stores, on marketplaces or via social media not infrequently fall into the counterfeiters' trap. In almost three out of four cases, consumers even accept that the product is a counterfeit. This text summarizes why this behavior only provides brief pleasure at best and also causes damage to the environment and people.
1. from ramshackle to musty
High-class headphones are among the most counterfeited electronic products in the world. Visually and through the packaging, they are often indistinguishable from the original, but the sound, at the latest, makes it clear that they are crooked. More and more brand manufacturers want to protect their consumers from this. For example, Apple's new operating system reports when counterfeit Airpods try to dock via Bluetooth. If the user ignores the warning, he has to deal not only with poor sound, but also with a weak battery and short service life. It goes without saying that the manufacturer's warranty does not apply here. No one who buys heavily discounted flacons of luxury perfumes has a guarantee of a good scent either. Instead of noble essences, they like to receive musty-smelling liquids mixed with urine, as Nicole Hofmann, an expert in product and brand protection, reports from her experience. "If a price is up to 80 percent below the original price and the product image looks unprofessional, caution is advised," warns the managing director of the Brand protection software provider Sentryc.
2. neither TÜV nor load capacity
There is almost no product that is not affected by counterfeiting. Beyond the classics such as brand-name clothing or luxury watches, the danger is becoming increasingly widespread. It becomes life-threatening when counterfeiters do not even stop at chainsaws, car brakes or mountaineering equipment. In contrast to original products, counterfeit products do not undergo any quality control before they leave production and do not have to pass any stress tests by TÜV or certification bodies. Even toys made of toxic materials end up where they don't belong - with health consequences for everyone who comes into contact with them.
3. environmental protection remains outside
Those who intentionally buy fakes should be aware that they are harming the environment. Their production and distribution are often in the hands of organized crime and take place under precarious conditions for people and the environment. For example, textile production uses pollutants and dyes that original manufacturers have long since banned from their production. For example, certain surfactants are banned in this country because, as soon as they enter the wastewater, they form environmental and hormone pests. Strict limits apply here, which criminal producers circumvent without hesitation. While organizations such as OEKO-TEX want to educate and protect consumers, criminals are not afraid to forge such seals of approval.
4. unfair working conditions
An increasing number of brand manufacturers are deliberately producing in locations in Asia, South America and Europe, where they consciously support the local population through fair wages and the establishment of fair structures. They comply with strict environmental regulations and make their production processes transparent. In the course of this development, textile companies and trade unions, for example, announced their agreement on a new international agreement for the health and safety of their workers about a year ago.  The situation is quite different in the informal economy, where workers produce counterfeit goods for low wages and without occupational health and safety, which reach us via international online stores and marketplaces.
5. counterfeiting weakens trade and economy
"For many companies, counterfeit products are more than just a nuisance," says Stefanie Stadie, Environmental Policy Officer at the German Trade Association. "Not only do they lose sales due to counterfeit products, but in many cases the inferior quality of the counterfeit products leads to an image problem for the brand that is not the fault of the company itself. As a result, online marketplaces are avoided to ensure that the products can only be purchased in the company's own stores. This results in disadvantages for e-commerce and a weakening of the retail sector. Particularly in the current difficult economic times, any additional impairment is counterproductive when it comes to recovering from the effects of the crises. In the interests of consumers, we are therefore clearly in favor of original products. These products are also preferable from a sustainability point of view: in terms of durability, quality and value, the advantages are clear."
Sentryc GmbH is a Berlin-based technology company founded in 2019. The current35-strong team led by managing director Nicole Jasmin Hofmann offers companies a digital solution with its proprietary brand protection software that can be used to detect and stop product piracy and brand abuse on online marketplaces. The online experts provide their customers with a cloud solution that scans websites for products, identifies and documents potential counterfeits, and then automatically reports them for deletion. Renowned companies rely on Sentryc's product protection made in Germany. Prioritizing data protection, the company is hosted in Germany and is DSGVO-compliant. For more information, visit sentryc.com.
 EYStudy Product Piracy (July 2022)