New website aims to stem sale of counterfeit goods online
Brand-i, a new online shopping website, has been launched in a bid to help consumers avoid being ripped off online.
With online counterfeiting and illegal shopping sites growing in number and more consumers being caught out, the website works by allowing consumers to search through their favourite well-known brands and find the genuine online stockists.
Fake luxury brand websites can attract over 120 million visits a year with an estimated £82 billion being spent online on counterfeit goods.
Jenny Dalton, Brand-i founder, said: “The idea for Brand-i was that there had to be a better way of reassuring online shoppers that the stores they were using were authentic and selling the genuine products. Our site allows consumers to find these genuine sites and avoid them taking a risk.”
The directory is free to use and new brands will be added to the site to reflect the shopping trends of the online consumer, said Brand-i. Brands currently involved in the site include UGG, GHD, Chanel, Pandora, Ted Baker as well as two Premier League football clubs.
Andy Foster, operations director for the Trading Standards Institute, and a partner of Brand-i, said: ‘Because the internet is largely unpoliced, it is becoming increasingly difficult to track.”
He continued: “Brand-i offers a way for consumers to wade through the hundreds of counterfeit stores that appear in search engine results or on social media pages. It’s an important additional tool in fighting internet crime but also empowering consumers – not just with the directory listings but advice on how to recognise illegal web stores. There is also a facility for consumers to report sites they have been ripped off by or what they suspect aren’t genuine.”
Liz Bales, from the Industry Trust – an affiliate of Brand-i, said: "A sizeable group of consumers are simply confused as to what is and isn’t legal or official. Consumers can be aggrieved when their intended official purchases transpire to be of poor quality. Equally, if we are looking for consumers to do more of the right thing then we need to make it easy for them and Brand-i does just that – connecting consumers with official sources for the products they want."
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