In the past, counterfeit car parts were mainly non-safety items such as window wipers, mud flaps and car interior accessories. Now, counterfeit items such as brake pads, brake shoes, suspension components and steering linkages are readily available on the market.
Car repairers and car part suppliers may not be aware that they are in possession of fake parts, as they can be made to look quite convincing. However, it is possible that there may be some businesses out there that are knowingly selling counterfeit brake pads.
Regularly seize items of jewellery bear the following registered trade marks: Tiffany & Co, Links of London, Pandora, Gucci and Playboy. The seized items, which were also described as being 'sterling silver', were forwarded to the Assay Office in London for testing. The jewellery items were found to have been manufactured from base metal, a copper and zinc alloy and then completely silver plated.
Consumers should always check any silver, gold, platinum or palladium jewellery they’re buying is properly hallmarked to ensure they are getting the genuine article.
Counterfeit items such as cosmetics are potentially dangerous to consumers. It is unlikely that they will be subject to the same stringent safety tests as legitimate brands. As these goods are to be applied to the skin and to the eye area, they may pose a serious health risk to consumers.
Counterfeit make-up has been known to cause serious rashes, allergic reactions and in more serious cases even cause burning to the skin as they are sometimes found to contain arsenic, lead and mercury.
Trading Standards has seized a large quantity of hair straighteners from premises in NI. These items are often presented in genuine looking boxes, but alarmingly fake hair stylers are not only poorly made and short-lasting, but they are also very dangerous. Users are running the risk of damaging their hair or even being injured from electric shocks or burns.
Consumer's can check the product's hologram code number on the official supplier's website to establish whether they are genuine or not.
In the past year there has been a number of identified incidents involving counterfeit or unlicenced medication, including the seizure of unlicenced topical anaesthetic cream which had been imported from China. In March 2012 the Department of Health issued an alert to all medical professionals regarding a batch of diazepam which had originated in Pakistan and had been linked to several overdoses as well as verbal and physical aggression.
Trading Standards Services reports an increase in the sale of counterfeit goods online and on social media sites and they have tackled this problem through enforcement and the removal of these sites. You can find out more on their facebook page.
The 2015 situation report on counterfeiting in the European Union can be found here
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