Watch out for counterfeits online


On March 15, it is Consumer Rights Day. Therefore, ECC Sweden and the ECC network wants to celebrate the occasion by launching the report "The impact of counterfeiting on online consumer rights in Europe" which contains tips and advice on how to avoid buying fake products online.

As more and more make their purchases online, there is also an increased risk to shop from webshops selling fake products. Today, counterfeits are not only limited to luxury products. Copies of products, such as medicines, cosmetics, toys, shoes, car parts or accessories for mobile phones, also are found online.

In the quest for the most affordable product it is easy to be blinded by the low prices and not consider whether the product found online is the original or a copy. Often consumers do not know about the risks they expose themselves and their family members to when they are buying and using counterfeit products.

- For the consumer, fake products can seem like a great deal, but the reality is often quite different. The use of such products can in some situations be extremely dangerous. For example, medicines can be ineffective or contain hazardous substances, and a toy can be made of toxic materials or have loose parts that can be dangerous for children and the environment. Furthermore, a poor safety hook can have serious consequences for mountain climbers, says Jolanda Girzl, Head of ECC Sweden.

In addition to health, safety and environmental risks, there are many other negative consequences of purchasing fake products. Among other things, the trade and manufacturing of fake products mostly are controlled by criminal groups, and the profits they make are often used to finance other criminal activities such as drug trafficking.

What to do in case you did buy a counterfeit?

ECC Sweden often get inquiries and complaints from consumers who, either consciously or not, purchased counterfeit items online that they did not receive or got stopped at customs. Many times, the company is sited outside the EU, which limits ECC Sweden's opportunity to help consumers.

But if the product you purchased will prove to fake, there are some things you can try to do to get your money back.

  • Contact the seller in writing. Explain that you do not wish a replacement product and thus claim a reimbursement of the total price.
  • Did you pay by bank card? Contact your bank or card issuer and claim your money back via the charge back procedure.
  • Did the right holder claim for compensation? Explain in writing that you purchased the product in good faith for personal use and contest the claim.

How to spot counterfeits online

To help consumers avoid problems, ECC Sweden and the sister offices in the ECC network today launch the report The impact of counterfeiting on online consumer rights in Europe, which includes tips on how to recognize counterfeit products online.

- We hope that with this report and our ten tips can make consumers conscious about the risks with counterfeits and to help them to make well informed decisions when they shop online, says Jolanda Girzl.

Read more: 10 tips on how to recognize fake products online

More information

ECC Sweden replies: "Are counterfeits really that bad?" (in Swedish)

Press Contact

Questions are answered by ECC Sweden's Head Officer Jolanda Girzl, phone: 054-19 40 52.

NOTE! During the period 15 to 17 March Jolanda is out of the office and only reachable between 13:00 to 14:00. During this period, contact and questions can be forwarded via Communication Officer Elin Sundstrom on phone: 054-19 41 62 or e-mail:

Learn more about ECC-Net. You can also follow ECC Sweden on Twitter.