B.C. consumers warned to watch out for counterfeit dresses, apparel online

Shoppers who get scammed encouraged to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

From wedding dresses to summer apparel, consumers planning to add new items to their wardrobes are being warned to watch out for knock-off brand name merchandise that is increasingly tricking online shoppers.

A consumer group and a counterfeit goods investigator both say it’s not only unaware consumers and brands that lose out when knock-offs are sold, but the profits often support other illegal activities.

Jigme Love, co-owner of the Vancouver-based luxury consignment retailer Mine & Yours, said she’s seen the counterfeiting of brand name apparel transition from predominantly bags and accessories to dresses and other clothing.

The company has destroyed a number of clothing items over the years that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be fakes, costing the store, she said.

“We’re really strict but it’s not a perfect science,” she said.

The store has become more cautious when buying clothes and increasingly relies on a third-party authenticator to verify garments, a process they previously used only for bags, Love said.

There’s also been a shift from counterfeiting common high-end names like Michael Kors to more coveted haute couture lines like Chanel, she said.

With wedding and prom season fast-approaching, Evan Kelly with the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. is reminding consumers to do their homework before investing in a deal that seems too good to be true.

“When it comes to brand name clothing, nothing is off limits,” he said. “We’ve seen fake Vera Wang dresses, fake just about anything.”

Lorne Lipkus, a Toronto lawyer and member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, said everyone loses when knock-off brands are sold.

An estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in counterfeit consumer goods are sold in Canada every year, he said.

“The counterfeiters don’t pay taxes, so we are supporting an endeavour that is not contributing to this wonderful society that we have,” he said.

While he’s seen production of counterfeit goods shut down by police over the years, he said 80 per cent of the global trade comes from China, and it’s largely controlled by organized crime or terrorism groups.

Kelly said consumers should know the websites and companies they’re dealing with, check reviews, and always pay by credit card or PayPal which offer added security.

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores continue to be the safer bet for shopping, he said.

Increasingly, Lipkus said fake goods sold online aren’t just appearing on unique or resale websites but are sold through social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.

Three years ago, Lipkus said his law firm Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP only employed one part-time person to search out online sellers. Today, they have three full-time investigators dedicated to the issue.

Love said shoppers looking for a designer second-hand wedding dress should ask for a copy of the receipt and then call the retailer to confirm the original purchase.

“I’ve even seen fake receipts,” she said.

Close inspection of the stitching of a garment, the fabric and the label can provide clues as to whether a product is the real deal, she added.

Lipkus also encouraged shoppers who get scammed to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which can investigate and provide support to someone trying to get their money refunded by a credit card provider.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Affordable housing for seniors eyed for former Paramount site

City of Chilliwack to partner with Chilliwack Community Services

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

BIA disallows campaign booths at Chilliwack’s Party in the Park nights

Candidate calls it ‘suppressing the vote’ while Waddington invites all to his Mill St. office Friday

Head of Chilliwack RCMP sums up six months of policing the city

Supt. Bryon Massie addresses city council to talk about 15 new officers

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

UPDATED: ICBC fights back against claims that it’s ‘ripping off’ B.C. RV drivers

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Most Read