Posted: Sat 2nd Jul 2016

Fake Fragrance Sniffed Out

This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jul 2nd, 2016

Trading Standards officers who smelled a rat when “designer” fragrances and watches offered for sale via Facebook turned out to be fakes have prosecuted an Ystrad man. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Specialist Trading Standards team is dealing with an increasing number of complaints of fake goods – including clothing, footwear, watches, perfume and even DVDs – being sold via selling sites and personal profiles on the social media network. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Just a few weeks ago, a Llwynypia man was prosecuted and fined for selling fake designer clothes via the same site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This month, it was the turn of James Michael Lewis Wiliams, 25, of Heol Y Mynydd, who faced Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on June 20th charged with seven offences relating to the sale of counterfeit perfume, aftershave and watches. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Officers received complaints from consumers who had seen the fake Chanel, Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Lacoste and Jimmy Choo items on selling pages on Facebook. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As a result, a search warrant was executed at Williams’ home on November 9 last year, where a small quantity of perfume, watches and aftershave were seized by officers. Subsequent examination of the items confirmed they were fake. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

James Williams was charged with six specimen offences under the 1994 Trade Marks Act in relation to the exposing for sale and possession for sale of counterfeit perfume, aftershave and watches and one charge under the 2006 Fraud Act in relation to knowingly carrying out a fraudulent business, namely selling and distributing counterfeit goods. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He admitted the offences and the court was told, in his defence, he only had a small number of items and hadn’t actually managed to sell any goods and this was the first time he had ever done something like this. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He was fined £360 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £20. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

All of the goods seized by officers in the warrant were ordered to be forfeited and destroyed. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Paul Mee, Head of Public Health and Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council explained: “Social media has become one of the most popular means by which people sell or swap items and people’s timelines are awash with items for sale – from second hand furniture and bundles of baby clothes to, what sellers claim, are genuine, designer items. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The rules in place to protect the rights of consumers and also to protect the Trade Marks of those who work hard to operate in a legal manner and offer only the highest-quality goods are in place even on social media. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Officers acted swiftly and efficiently in this case, which is one of a growing number of online Trade Marks offences, in order to remove the fake items from sale and deal with the culprit. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I hope this serves as a message to consumers to ensure what they are buying is the real deal – if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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