Islamabad: As the internet has gained popularity as a means for online shopping, retailers are continuously attracting customers through discounts and deals by selling counterfeit products through different social media websites.
A report aired by a private news channel said that platforms such as Instagram have become a hub of bogus profiles peddling counterfeit luxury items.
Around 60-80 per cent of people in Pakistan have a social media profile, and platforms have become another method for consumers to look for and purchase products.
Fake products also have company logos and branding. The fakes could be anything from toys, clothing and shoes to pharmaceuticals and software, said IT expert Wasiq Shah.
He said with the launch of 3G/4G services in the country, along with many other sectors, the e-commerce industry has witnessed a huge boom within a short period of time, but complaints about the sale of knock-off goods have soared.
Fake products are often tempting since they cost much less than the original price.
Trading Standards e-commerce expert Hamid Shaikh warned: ‘Consumers are playing with fire purchasing electrical products from unknown sellers in an effort to bag a bargain.”
Experts say that the luxury goods counterfeit market has always been a matter of concern for retailers and consumers. Copies of luxury products such as bags, apparels, watches, shoes, belts, pens, perfumes and jewellery are found in abundance.
With online shopping, the fake goods market has got a boost due to the anonymity it offers, the ever-increasing greed for discounts and the consumer fixation with ‘brands’, the experts highlighted.
They suggested that when a consumer is buying a high-end brand, video tutorials on YouTube should be checked to distinguish the authentic from the fake. There are many videos by manufacturers or fashion and tech bloggers to educate the public.
Also, verify product features, look, packaging, labels, and logo placement by going to the brand website to ensure a safe choice, experts added.
Seller information should also be checked for shipping method, hidden charges and the product description, said, adding, many a times, words such as ‘vintage’, ‘refurbished’ or ‘second hand’ may be misleading to the customer getting a used product.