A quarter of UK consumers bought fake goods in the last year

More than one in four (26 per cent) of UK consumers have been fooled into buying a counterfeit product while shopping online in the last 12 months, says a new report.

The survey – by online brand protection company Incopro – also found that less than half (41 per cent) of those who had bought a counterfeit and reported it to an online marketplace received a refund. And unsurprisingly, 66 per cent of then have lost trust in a brand as a result.

“With the value of card spending on the Internet estimated at £154bn (around $200bn) per year and the OECD estimating that (£76bn) of imported goods are counterfeit or pirated, the financial cost to both consumers and brands of this counterfeit explosion cannot be underestimated,” says the report.

The findings, conducted by independent pollster Sapio Research, also showed that one in five (22 per cent) of consumers surveyed said they have lost between £100 and £500 in the past 12 months from buying products that turned out to be fake.

It also seems it’s the youngest that are hit hardest when it comes to purchasing counterfeit goods, says Incopro. It turns out 18 to 24-year olds are most likely to get ripped off online, with 25 per cent having lost between £100 - £249 from counterfeit goods in the past 12 months alone.

The findings also make it clear that a sizeable proportion of UK consumers – a quarter of those surveyed - knowingly purchased counterfeit goods in the past year, “reinforcing the point that counterfeits are now so endemic that consumers are becoming inured to the concept.”

Health and safety risk

Worryingly, 9 per cent of consumers report they have been injured or suffered a health issue as a result of purchasing counterfeit goods online.

“From fake trainers that result in injury, airbags that failed to explode on impact, dangerous substitute medicines, counterfeit vodka which may include ant-freeze or cleaning fluid and lead to black outs, blurred vision, short-term sight loss and even death in extreme cases, all the way to cycle helmets that shatter at the slightest impact – many of the counterfeit products routinely purchased by UK consumers can be extremely hazardous,” says Incopro.

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