US man who sold fake P&G’s Tide detergent fined

A Kansas man who admitted to selling fake Tide laundry detergent has been fined and ordered to serve a year of probation.

Brian Glenn (44) of Baldwin City pleaded guilty to one misdemeanour count of counterfeiting, after state attorney’s dismissed a felony charge earlier on the grounds that the detergent he sold – claiming it to be Procter & Gamble’s famous brand – had to undergo testing.

Glenn was selling five-gallon (20lb) buckets of the detergent, between April and May 2016, in violation of Kansas criminal law. While P&G’s trademarked Tide logo was on them the company has confirmed that it doesn’t sell its product in that format to the public.

The knock-offs – which reportedly had Vietnamese writing – were being sold for $35, less than half the price of the same volume of the genuine product. Similar counterfeits have also been found in other US states – including Texas, Illinois, New York and California – and P&G started seeing large quantities of the counterfeit product nationwide from around 2015 – often sold via social media such as Facebook Marketplace.

Working with law enforcement, P&G has shut down dozens of retail outlets and distribution centres across the US peddling fake Tide, as well as other brands like Gain liquid detergent and Downy fabric softener.

Testing hasn’t suggested that the product is inherently unsafe so far, but it does have a much higher water content and certainly isn’t as effective at cleaning clothes. The fakes were therefore not only ripping off consumers, but also risked damaging the brand’s reputation.

In 2018, P&G set up a partnership with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which included the donation of testing kits to allow officers to assess shipments of P&G-branded products arriving in the country from overseas.

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