Counterfeit goods worryingly widespread online

Many businesses are suffering higher overhead costs because they have to increase product quality along with fighting against fake goods widely available on the Internet.

The market management force in HCMC are confiscating counterfeit goods (Photo: SGGP)

Wishing to buy a new perfume bottle, N.P.K. from Tan Phu District of HCMC found a livestream session to sell cosmetics at a discount of 50 – 70 percent in celebration the Reunification Day. Seeing that the prices of renowned perfume brand names like Chanel or Gucci are only one-fourth or one-fifth of the normal ones displayed in official outlets, she decided to purchase a Gucci bottle, paying VND600,000 (US$23.6). When receiving the pack with no formal receipt or related document and recognizing strange smells from the bottle, plus having red skin after use, she had to throw it away.

A similar story comes from V.T.V. from District 3 in HCMC. He bought a sunscreen bottle as a gift for his girlfriend after being advertised that the product was made in Japan but sold at half price as grey goods. The girl reported that the product is of low quality and might be a counterfeit as some details are different from authentic ones.

Not just luxurious goods but normal commodities like local specialty food items are being faked. In a recent livestream session, fruits and specialties of Can Gio District in HCMC received a lot of positive comments and were hot-sellers. Not long after that, some were faked, greatly annoying consumers due to mistaken purchases just because of cheaper prices.

A market management official in HCMC shared that counterfeit goods are now available everywhere. Functional agencies have already discovered warehouses after warehouses full of fake goods at different values. Most have nearly identical packages with authentic merchandise. This has annoyingly confused owners of renowned brand names in the world when they have to learn ways to differentiate between their own goods and the fake ones on the market!

A majority of counterfeit items are distributed in suburban or rural areas, where people merely know a bit about famous brand names and are willing to choose those with cheaper prices without careful checking.

Meanwhile, businesses have to spend billions of VND for the fight against these harmful products but dare not announce this publicly for fear of consumers stay away from authentic ones as well because of confidence loss. Being so lonely in this fight, they still have no better options than continuing till the end.

Huynh Van Thanh, Director of Can Gio Tuong Lai Cooperative stressed that there must be stricter sanctions to punish people who make or sell counterfeit products, while relevant state departments and localities should help businesses to formally advertise their merchandise to consumers.

The market management force in HCMC are confiscating counterfeit goods (Photo: SGGP)

Deputy Director Nguyen Quang Huy of the HCMC Market Management Department said that the spreading of counterfeit goods has become increasingly serious. Products could be faked regardless of their values or manufacturing techniques. More seriously, these items are boldly sold on trading floors, social network sites without control. Sadly, there is much trouble pinpointing and then handling them due to foxy methods of sellers. It is harder since most of these harmful products are delivered via a third party shipping company.

Aware of this, the market management team of HCMC has closely cooperated with functional agencies to support businesses sited in the city in the harsh fight against counterfeit goods. They propagandize negative effects of fake merchandise and ways to differentiate them from authentic ones to ensure the rights of both manufacturers and consumers. The professional skills of functional agencies are frequently updated to effectively handle violations regarding this matter.

Chairwoman Phan Thi Viet Thu of the HCMC Consumer Rights Protection Association said that trading counterfeit goods is extremely profitable, especially doing it online, which is why this has become so infamous now with various cunning methods.

She insisted on the necessity of close collaboration among functional agencies in checking and handling such cases. She added that businesses themselves should cooperate via their own announcements on counterfeit goods and ways to identify those unsafe products or to reach authentic ones.

Online trading is obviously lucrative yet possesses a lot of risks. There can be goods of different values, qualities, and origins available on the Internet. Meanwhile, the law enforcement force is not sufficient to cover every corner of the market. Therefore, consumers should be wise and careful to protect themselves against counterfeit goods by only buying at trusted shops that can display valid documents about the products. Under no circumstances should people choose fake items.

From December 15, 2023 to April 14, 2024, the market management force in Vietnam was able to detect and handle more than 15,500 cases of trading counterfeit goods, imposing different fines with a total value of VND171 billion ($6.72 million). This is a rise of 25 percent compared to this time last year. The confiscated goods are worth VND73 billion ($2.87 million) and the destroyed ones VND117 billion ($4.6 million).

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