Sometimes a good bargain, doesn’t always mean it’s a good deal.
Throughout the years, the Better Business Bureau has received thousands of complaints from people who have shopped for goods online and received counterfeits instead of what they ordered.
Some of the common products sold by counterfeiters include brand-name sunglasses, designer clothing, sports jerseys, athletic shoes, watches, jewelry, handbags and electronics.
Although selling counterfeit goods is illegal under the Lanham Act, sales have exploded in North Texas in recent years.
In January, an investigator bought a counterfeit Gucci purse and Louis Vuitton wallet for $200 from a Waco woman.
During the transaction, the investigator saw that an office in the woman’s home was being used as a retail location with clothing racks and a display table filled with merchandise. Police later seized suspected counterfeit designer clothes, purses, wallets and other accessories from that location.
In May, a Dallas woman was shopping at a local beauty store and saw her favorite perfume — Jimmy Choo — for about half the cost she normally pays for it.
The packaging looked legit, so she bought two. And then she got home, tried it on and realized the perfume was fake.
“When I put it on, I started to sneeze, and I was like, ‘Oh I got an allergy.’ I thought maybe it was the weather,” Dora Lowe told WFAA. “But it smelled really different. It had a metallic-like smell.”
In April, federal agents seized counterfeit items from two men in Houston, who were considered to be the largest distributors of fake luxury goods in the region. They were accused of receiving more than 3,000 shipments from China since 2014 worth more than $14 million
In June, the Burleson Police Department was notified by agents with the Department of Homeland Security and Investigation Services Company in reference to a counterfeit merchandise distributor and seller within Burleson.
Shortly after, BPD seized more than 300 counterfeit designer bags, totaling more than $268,000, from the suspect.
BPD posted photos of the purses on Facebook with, “We ain’t got no time for your Louise Buitton bags, Bay Rans sunglasses or Channel shoes in our town. #ItFake #YouGotHad #IfItInTheTrunkOfACarItAintReal.”
Homeland Security Investigations special agent Cynthia Manning said selling counterfeit products is not a victimless crime.
“You don’t know if you’re enabling child labor. You don’t know if it’s going to fund a criminal organization,” she said. “We’ve actually uncovered these things being produced in small towns in countries that are impoverished. They’re not making any money. They’re making cents a day. I can’t see how wearing something fashionable is worth a child being put in that situation.”