POSTED: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 2:09pm
UPDATED: Monday, September 26, 2011 - 10:04am
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — THIS IS AN NBC33 CONSUMER ALERT Cheap knock-off products could cost you more than a few bucks. Experts say some of them can be deadly.
"If you really knew what you were buying, you probably wouldn't support it," says Robert Barchiesi with the AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.
All over the state, counterfeit products are making their way into your home. "Counterfeit bags, counterfeit perfume, counterfeit sneakers. If you can make it, they'll fake it," explains Barchiesi.
Faking the real deal hurts tax revenue for the state and cuts jobs. "They're violating the rights of people who have their legitimate interest in business products, who do it right, who are paying their taxes" says Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. He says counterfeit products are becoming a serious problem in Louisiana.
Some of those products can be extremely dangerous. "There's folks that have gotten counterfeit pharmaceuticals and they've died from that," says Barchiesi. "Even the innocuous goods, like fragrances, there's high contents of alcohol that can burn people's skin. Brake pads give out because they're made out of sawdust."
At an anticounterfeit training conference hosted by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, law enforcement officers learn how to spot phony goods. There are several things that you can do to protect yourself from buying mock merchandise. "It it's too good to be true, it is," says Barchiesi.
Experts say to steer clear of shopping at places you aren't familiar with. "Everywhere and anywhere from flea markets to going on the internet and shopping online."
Be careful about the price you pay for big brands. "If you're buying a high-end product for ten dollars, its probably counterfeit," says Barchiesi.