Dreaming of a counterfeit free Christmas?

To avoid the Christmas blues Merton Council’s Trading Standards Service is advising residents how to spot counterfeit goods.

Shoppers should be particularly wary of dodgy dealers during the festive season and be especially careful of goods sold at car boot sales and markets. There are some simple checks to avoid buying counterfeit goods this year:

· Check the stitching and seams inside clothing, if they are poor quality goods may be counterfeit

· When buying sports shoes check the seals on the soles. Poor quality soles often mean they are counterfeit goods

· Poor quality labels and packaging on cosmetics can give the game away. Remember counterfeit cosmetics may contain substances that irritate or harm the skin and eyes.

Merton Council warns that this year there appears to be an increase in street sellers operating out of holdalls. This is mainly happening around train and tube stations. Trading Standards officers will be doing more inspections in the run up to Christmas.

Ian Murrell, Merton Council’s Acting Trading Standards Manager says “I know people always like a bargain, but if you buy counterfeits you run the risk of getting a poor quality and sometimes dangerous product that you won’t be able to return if things go wrong.

“Also people should be aware that many major counterfeiting operations are now used as a means of making and laundering money for organised crime and terrorist groups so you may be unwittingly supporting them”.

To report any counterfeiting operations please contact the Trading Standards Service on 020 8545 4018. For information on Merton Council’s consumer advice service contact http://www.merton.gov.uk/complaints/consumeradvice.asp