B.C. consumers warned to watch out for counterfeit dresses, apparel online

Shoppers who get scammed encouraged to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

From wedding dresses to summer apparel, consumers planning to add new items to their wardrobes are being warned to watch out for knock-off brand name merchandise that is increasingly tricking online shoppers.

A consumer group and a counterfeit goods investigator both say it’s not only unaware consumers and brands that lose out when knock-offs are sold, but the profits often support other illegal activities.

Jigme Love, co-owner of the Vancouver-based luxury consignment retailer Mine & Yours, said she’s seen the counterfeiting of brand name apparel transition from predominantly bags and accessories to dresses and other clothing.

The company has destroyed a number of clothing items over the years that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be fakes, costing the store, she said.

“We’re really strict but it’s not a perfect science,” she said.

The store has become more cautious when buying clothes and increasingly relies on a third-party authenticator to verify garments, a process they previously used only for bags, Love said.

There’s also been a shift from counterfeiting common high-end names like Michael Kors to more coveted haute couture lines like Chanel, she said.

With wedding and prom season fast-approaching, Evan Kelly with the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. is reminding consumers to do their homework before investing in a deal that seems too good to be true.

“When it comes to brand name clothing, nothing is off limits,” he said. “We’ve seen fake Vera Wang dresses, fake just about anything.”

Lorne Lipkus, a Toronto lawyer and member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, said everyone loses when knock-off brands are sold.

An estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in counterfeit consumer goods are sold in Canada every year, he said.

“The counterfeiters don’t pay taxes, so we are supporting an endeavour that is not contributing to this wonderful society that we have,” he said.

While he’s seen production of counterfeit goods shut down by police over the years, he said 80 per cent of the global trade comes from China, and it’s largely controlled by organized crime or terrorism groups.

Kelly said consumers should know the websites and companies they’re dealing with, check reviews, and always pay by credit card or PayPal which offer added security.

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores continue to be the safer bet for shopping, he said.

Increasingly, Lipkus said fake goods sold online aren’t just appearing on unique or resale websites but are sold through social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.

Three years ago, Lipkus said his law firm Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP only employed one part-time person to search out online sellers. Today, they have three full-time investigators dedicated to the issue.

Love said shoppers looking for a designer second-hand wedding dress should ask for a copy of the receipt and then call the retailer to confirm the original purchase.

“I’ve even seen fake receipts,” she said.

Close inspection of the stitching of a garment, the fabric and the label can provide clues as to whether a product is the real deal, she added.

Lipkus also encouraged shoppers who get scammed to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which can investigate and provide support to someone trying to get their money refunded by a credit card provider.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Love of music shared with Langley’s little musicians

A Grade 11 R.E. Mountain student stepped up, realizing many local families couldn’t afford lessons.

Langley has no legion branch but will have poppy sales

A special poppy campaign starts later this month and needs volunteers.

Second Langley man found guilty in $6 million fraud

The co-accused in the Aggressive Roadbuilders fraud admitted his guilt in court.

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Giants hand Victoria their first loss of the season

Langley’s WHL team went head to head with the Royals for the second day in a row, beating them 3-2.

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

5 to start your day

Vancouver police chief says they’re ‘ready’ for legal pot, cyclist struck in Surrey and more

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Earth samples show dust from B.C. pipeline blast not a health threat: Enbridge

Enbridge says earth sampling shows mineral and metal composition is well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Most Read