UK consumers spent GBP3.3bn during last years four-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend

UK consumers spent GBP3.3bn during last year's four-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend

A British legal practice has published a six-step checklist to help retailers ensure their supply chains are free from counterfeit goods this Black Friday.

The annual shopping event, which kicks off on 25 November, marks the start of the all-important holiday trading period. And while a long-time fixture in the US, the phenomenon is also rapidly gaining in popularity in the UK.

But according to Rahman Ravelli, traders should take extra care not to become victims of a growing counterfeiting problem.

"There are more counterfeiting seizures being carried out, which means more people are likely to face prosecution," explains Aziz Rahman, senior partner at the law firm. "A sales day such as Black Friday intensifies the desire for a bargain and, therefore, creates a demand that can be filled by people supplying counterfeit goods."

And the penalties are high. If a case involving a breach of the Trade Marks Act 1994 goes to Crown Court, a person found guilty can face unlimited fines and up to ten years in prison. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the authorities have the power to confiscate the assets of anyone who has obtained them through illegal activity, Rahman says.

The checklist includes the following six steps:

  • Analyse your existing supply chain – just because you've been working with a supplier for years, it doesn't necessarily mean they've been completely legitimate. You should explain that the checks you're undertaking are now company policy and are a routine measure to ensure you're both protected."
  • Demand to see proof of manufacturing credentials.
  • Go directly to the original source – the more links there are in a supply chain, the more likely you are to encounter bogus goods. If you're not satisfied with the documentation that a supplier has given you, it's best to err on the side of caution and go directly to the original source. 
  • Keeping organised records, including essential paperwork and digital records, can pay dividends if you are ever accused of wrongdoing.
  • Be mindful of different laws when forging overseas partnerships.
  • Make use of new technology – a lot of larger businesses with hugely complex supply chains are using technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to ensure they're only dealing with genuine goods. RFID tags optimise stock control and also make it easier to flag up any erroneous products that might have entered your supply chain.

Meanwhile, UK clothing and footwear sales are expected to rise this Black Friday, with this year's shopping bonanza tipped to be the largest of its kind. 

UK retail tipped for best Black Friday yet