December 9, 2015 – Columbus, OH – With all of the online and in-store deals available during the holidays, many consumers feel fortunate when they can find a costly item at a reduced price. But before you check a gift off of your loved one’s wish list, make sure that you aren’t purchasing a counterfeit product.

Untrustworthy businesses sell counterfeit items during this shopping season, giving consumers a cheap version of the product, or completely disappearing when buyers want to request a refund. When it comes to name-brand products, BBB wants to help consumers to avoid purchasing a fake.

Top 5 Counterfeit Gift Items For 2015:

1. Headphones including Beats by Dr Dre and Life’s Good Tone Ultra Headsets: These headsets are popular this year, made from high-quality materials that intend to give consumers a better listening experience. Retailers have to be certified to sell Beats headphones.

2. Timberland Boots: Retailers also have to be authorized to sell Timberland Boots. These shoes are well crafted and utilized for different types of outdoor activities. Timberland is directly addressing their counterfeit problem and has more information on what to do if a consumer buys fake Timberlands.

3. Designer bags and wallets: Shoppers want name-brand fashion items for the status and the quality. This year, Coach and Michael Kors are two of the most desired brands, but any brand can be counterfeited.

4. Beauty products: Different brands of designer makeup are marketed as limited edition, or can only be bought at certain times of the year. Winter eyeshadows or lip colors can be seen in stores or online, however if a consumer purchases imitation cosmetics, it could result in skin ailments.

5. Tablets and other electronics: Electronic devices and upgraded forms of technology are always popular holiday gifts. New technology is usually more expensive when they are first released, so seemingly lower prices for the holidays can be exciting, but the product may not be authentic.

If you are doing most of your shopping online, BBB has some tips on how to avoid buying fake products:

– Look for a return policy. If there isn’t one available, simply move on.

– If the website does not have proper contact information or the product is not shipping from within the United States, it is most likely counterfeit.

– Don’t buy if you are redirected to an external online payment system during checkout.

– If you see products that are being sold without professional packaging, then they are most likely counterfeit.

– If the deal seems too good to be true, like a designer bag that is 50% off the original price, then it could be fake.

– Poor stitching, coloring, or misspelled words on products are all signs of counterfeit items. If you receive a counterfeit gift, contact the website immediately. If an exchange cannot be made, then consumers should call their bank and inquire about fraud protection. Crimes can be reported to the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

Consumers can always visit BBB’s Accredited Business Directory to find trustworthy businesses.
Don’t let a good deal leave you with bad merchandise