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April 27, 2022updated 28 Apr 2022 3:21pm

US Congress urged to pass law to prevent fakes being sold online

A coalition of industry groups, including the American Apparel & Footwear Association, has penned a letter urging Congress to pass legislation to stop the sale and promotion of fakes online.

By Hannah Abdulla

The industry groups, which also include the National Association of Manufacturers and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America want the final competitiveness legislative package to include critical provisions from the House-passed America Competes Act to protect the health and safety of American consumers by curbing the proliferation of fakes promoted and sold online. 

“These two pieces of bipartisan, bicameral legislation are critical as part of a much larger effort to curb counterfeits and protect consumers, workers, and brands,” says AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar.

“Counterfeit clothes, shoes, and bags threaten the health and safety of our consumers. Shop Safe and Inform shine a bright light on criminal counterfeiters and illegitimate sellers by providing consumers, law enforcement, platforms, and brands new tools and critical information to identify, avoid, and take down counterfeits. The legislation holds platforms accountable for promoting and selling dangerous counterfeits, the same way brick and mortar sellers are, while protecting small businesses or personal sales.

“Both Shop Safe and Inform are needed just as brands need the partnership of both platforms and law enforcement to stem the tidal wave of counterfeits promoted and sold on e-commerce and social media platforms.”

The letter follows a March study from the AAFA on dangerous chemicals and heavy metals in counterfeit products that found counterfeit apparel, footwear, and accessories pose a threat to the health and safety of American consumers. The study showed over a third of the counterfeit products tested contained dangerous levels of arsenic, cadmium, phthalates, lead, and more. Even small amounts of these chemicals can pose significant health risks.  

The letter can be found in full here.

Separately, a study from The Global Anti Scam Alliance and ScamAdviser.com found China to be the number one producer of fake products but also the largest online retailer of counterfeit goods.

The report aims to explore why consumers buy fakes and whether they do so knowingly or unknowingly.

The survey of close to 1,500 people across the globe found 92% of consumers have bought counterfeits.

70% of the consumers have bought a fake product in the past unknowingly or doubting the originality of the product. While almost a quarter (21%) admit to knowingly having bought fakes. Clothing, electronics, and accessories are the most commonly purchased fake products.

The report added that consumers buy fakes primarily as they believe there will be no significant difference in quality (16%). Affordability (16%) is an equally big motivator for buying fakes and the feeling the real brand is overpriced (12%) is also named.

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