Monday, August 15, 2011

Mindset: 5 Tips for Detecting Counterfeit Products (5.11 pants)

In the good old days it came down to buying fake Rolex watches or purses from a street vendor in NY, but since the world is “moving on” you will eventually find that counterfeits are more common than before and if you are not used to detecting them you may get fooled. From clothing to paper money, coins, barter coupons (most are very easy to make), medications, electronics, precious metals, food and drugs, every item you can think of may have a counterfeit counterpart out there.

In Argentina most people are used to telling the difference and will rarely pay retail for something they know isn’t original. Places like La Salada market sell fake jeans and brand name clothing and people pay accordingly. The problem comes when you get tricked and pay full price for something that isn’t worth it. This can also happen when buying electronics, even worse, it happens with food and drugs too. Getting food poisoned because you bought a product that you thought was a quality product but was in fact an imitation with no quality control can get you sick or killed.

You thought this wasn’t about survival? People have died because of poisoning by fake makeup here, and there’s still an on going scandal due to deaths caused by fake medications provided by Unions in Argentina. The government was providing through Unions placebo medications for among others, cancer patients. They stole the money instead of buying the actual drug, and the fake medication wasn’t even the drug the patients needed so they died.  How’s that for taking these things seriously?

Here’s 5 Tips to learn to tell the difference:

1) Know the product. You should be fairly familiar with it, do some research on line before buying, check for videos and detailed images of it. Especially with medications, if you feel the product isn’t original you can call the company and they can help you verify its authenticity.

2)Know its price. Is the price is too good to be true? Then its probably not true.

3)Look for details. Once you know the product, verify the small details such as tags, print quality, colors, materials used, markings, these are the best way to detect a fake brand product. Sometimes they erase the expiration date with alcohol and put new ones in expired products. If the expiration date isn’t cut or engraved into the product’s packaging and simply written or printed with ink, be suspicious.

4)The overall feel. This is easier to tell if you have handled an original version before for comparison. The fake product just feels… fake. You cant put your finger on it, but you can tell the general quality and finish is poor.

5)Who are you buying from? If the dealer isn’t official, if he’s not operating from a brick and mortar building or hasn’t got good online reputation then you know the chances of getting a counterfeit product increase.

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