Our primary role as an investigative company is to assist brand owners in their efforts to stop counterfeiting and piracy, however we believe that we must also do our best to educate vendors who may need assistance in determining what types of items they may or may not sell.
There are several ways a vendor can protect themselves from unknowingly becoming involved in the sales of counterfeit or pirated merchandise.
Here are some basic “Do’s & Don’ts” that may assist a vendor in not purchasing counterfeit or pirated merchandise.
- Always obtain receipts for merchandise purchased. Make sure the receipt lists the information of the seller and that the name brands are spelled out on the receipt.
- Make sure you have the first and last name of the seller. Make sure you have a working phone number and current address.
- If you meet a new salesperson who is offering you brand name merchandise, ask him/her for references of other customers.
- Obtain samples of the brand name merchandise being offered and have it examined by the brand owner. You may be able to email photographs to the brand owner and they may or may not be able to advise you if the item is authentic or not. You must remember that the sample you may be given by the seller may turn out to be real; however, the items the seller delivers to you may turn out to be counterfeit. You must also be prepared to provide the brand owner with the seller’s information.
Beware of “The Bait and Switch”
- Go to a store or the official website of the brand owner where authentic merchandise is displayed. Compare the authentic merchandise to the merchandise being offered.
- Compare the price of the merchandise to the price of the authentic merchandise. Remember, wholesale price for an item is generally 50% to 65% of the listed retail price. Beware of merchandise that is being offered at less than a normal wholesale price.
- Ask if merchandise is authentic and get a letter from the seller stating it.
- Visit the sellers’ business location; make sure the business appears to be legitimate. Be careful of any business that appears to be operating in a secretive manner.
- Make sure the seller has a business license.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the seller has had any complaints.
- Try to always pay with a check or credit card. Many counterfeiters will not deal in anything, but cash.
- Always keep records and receipts for all the purchases you make. Keep your records organized so you can easily find your records relating to a particular transaction.
- Follow your feelings. If something does not feel right about a transaction, there is probably a problem.
Remember, the only way to be sure something is authentic is to buy it directly from the brand owner.
Vendor Do Not’s
- Do not purchase anything from a seller that will not provide his real name or contact information.
- Do not purchase from a seller who will not give a receipt clearly documenting what you are purchasing.
- Do not purchase from anyone who will not let you visit their business location and insists on delivering to you.
- Do not purchase from anyone who acts secretive or becomes nervous about the transaction.
- Do not purchase from anyone that will not provide business references.
- Do not purchase from anyone who will not provide you samples of the items prior to purchasing.
- Do not buy from websites that do not list a phone number and address.
- Don’t be greedy. If a deal seems too good to be true, there’s probably something wrong.
- Do not buy from sellers who claim the goods are “over runs” or “seconds,” unless the seller can provide documentation proving the goods are legitimate.
- Do not accept any merchandise until you are 100% sure the merchandise is authentic.
- Do not allow the seller to provide you with the documentation at a later date.
The Investigative Consultants Team respects all honest and hard working people who are doing their best to make a legitimate living. Our team will do what we can to assist legitimate business people who are genuinely concerned about not becoming involved in counterfeiting or piracy.
We cannot advise you regarding the authenticity or lack of authenticity of branded merchandise without the consent of the brand owner; however, we will provide our assistance in educating vendors and consumers to the best of our ability.