Tourists warned – French and Italian Governments clamp down on consumers who buy fake goods!

In a recent BBC interview counterfeiting was highlighted as a multi billion pound illegal business – champagne, fake bags, watches, DVD’s, handbags, medicines and alcohol, a tiny fraction of counterfeit goods seized by Trading Standards – all fakes contributing to the 10 billion loss to the UK economy. France and Italy have taken the firm step on what is called “counterfeit tourism” and say they are focusing not just on those who sell fake goods – but people who’ve bought them. In France new laws mean tourists could be fined thousands of pounds – or even imprisoned. Those found guilty face maximum fines up to 300,000 euros and a maximum of 3 years in prison. Not only will the fakes be confiscated but those found guilty of buying fake goods will have to pay twice the cost of the original. So let’s take a genuine Louis Vuitton costing thousands, this would mean a hefty fine of several thousands euros. Susie Winter, Director of the Alliance Against IP Theft (of which ACID is an associate member) says, “These are not just cheeky chappies trying to make an honest living, they are hardened criminals with significant links to organised criminal gangs, child labour and drug trafficking”. She urged consumers to hunt out true genuine items – fake alcohol has caused many deaths, fake toys can pose a real danger to children and fake perfumes have burnt and cut people

The UK Government has decided against criminalising consumers and will continue to target the suppliers through Trading Standards and the Police. It has also launched an information campaign aimed at people using markets and boot sales. However, the industry wants a much more coordinated approach through a consultation process with a nationwide approach.

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