Retailers need to be highly wary of suppliers claiming to be selling authentic branded or designer goods because often their products will be fakes. If you buy into reselling fakes, you could face severe consequences including prosecution. Furthermore, when you buy fakes, you are supporting a syndicate of crime gangs who run the counterfeit industry and often enslave children to produce these fake goods, which is hardly something most people would want to associate with.
Buying branded or designer items and managing to distance yourself from such syndicates of crime is not easy and finding a genuine supplier will take a lot of time. To help you along on your quest, I have put together this trusty step-by-step check list for retailers to refer to when they are researching new suppliers:
Step 1: Check the supplier’s web site and contact details
Before you do anything else, start by checking how old their website is by visiting Domain Tools and entering their URL and checking how long their site has been online for. If they have been around for anything less than two years, they are much more likely to be selling fakes.
Verify their contact details by calling and asking a few questions, and sending a few emails to get a feel for the people you will be dealing with. When you call, check that the person answers the phone professionally by telling you the company name and their personal name. When emailing, you should expect to have a fast and thorough response to all your questions.
Step 2: Check that they have safe payment methods such as PayPal or Escrow.com. If they only accept Western Union or telegraphic or wire transfers, do not do business with them! PayPal and Escrow offer buyer security which means that the buyer only gets paid when you receive your shipment , which means if there is ever an issue, you can get your money back much more easily.
Step 3: Ask the supplier for original documentation from the manufacturer or product owner. This is the best proof that the supplier is an authorized distributor of genuine merchandise. If they don’t have original paperwork, ask for a Sanitized Invoice. This should show the legal trademark of the product owner with the price, date, contact info blanked out. It’s not as good as original paperwork though.
Step 4: Order in a few samples from the supplier you are researching. When you receive the items, you’ll need to go through them with a fine tooth comb to ensure that they are legitimate. To get an idea of what to look out for, try Googling the name of your product + “how to spot a fake” e.g Armani Jacket + “how to spot a fake”. Here are a few links to fake spotting sites for some commonly replicated items:
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