Keeping shoppers safe from rogue traders and counterfeits: 10th anniversary of Real Deal ‘Fake Free Markets’ Charter

• National Markets Group (NMG) Real Deal ‘Fake Free Markets’ campaign reaches 10-year anniversary.
• More than 500 markets have voluntarily signed the ‘Real Deal’ charter through Trading Standards.
• The campaign protects shoppers, genuine traders and local businesses from impact of counterfeit crime.

Shoppers across the UK are now increasingly likely to enjoy a genuine purchase from their local market, thanks to a consumer-friendly ‘Fake-Free Markets’ charter which is seeing its 10th anniversary this week.

An initiative of the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG), the Real Deal ‘Fake Free Markets’ Charter reassures consumers that they can expect to buy only genuine brands and quality goods when they shop at any local market, car boot sale or selling group displaying the ‘Real Deal’ logo. Since 2009, more than 500 local markets have signed up voluntarily to the charter via their local Trading Standards service, helping to stamp out rogue traders and potentially harmful counterfeit products.

The NMG is made up of a partnership of law enforcement, government and industry stakeholders, supported by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA).

Patricia Lennon, National Coordinator of the ‘Real Deal’ Campaign for the NMG, said: “The Real Deal charter has proved to be a huge reassurance for shoppers. We cannot praise highly enough the commitment we have seen from markets and Trading Standards across the UK who have jointly signed up to the charter to protect their customers from buying untested, poor quality, potentially unsafe counterfeit products.

“In displaying the ‘Real Deal’ logo, a market reassures its customers that it is a safe place to buy and sell. It also sends a strong ‘keep out’ message to any would-be traders in counterfeits who have no scruples when it comes to selling sub-standard products.”

Graham Mogg, Chair of the NMG, said: “Counterfeit products are not only bad news for consumers, but also for legitimate, hard-working local business owners who risk losing sales.

“When counterfeits find their way into a market environment, the revenue goes to the black market rather than the economy. The trade in fakes is frequently found to be linked to organised crime – something that would horrify most shoppers or traders if they knew.”

Although a large number of outlets have signed up to the scheme, the NMG is using this 10th anniversary milestone to urge more markets to join the initiative.

More information on the Real Deal campaign and its 10th anniversary celebrations can be found at

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Dudley says no to fakes – and welcomes the Real Deal

On 17 October 2019, nine markets and shopping centres in Dudley borough joined forces in a pledge to stamp out fake and counterfeit goods being sold in the borough. Representatives from Dudley Market; Dudley and Halesowen Plaza Malls; Cornbow Centre, Halesowen; Brierley Hill Indoor Market; Crown Centre and Ryemarket, Stourbridge; Merry Hill Centre and Stourbridge Farmers Market have all signed up to the Real Deal Charter. By pledging, they are reaffirming their commitment that fake and other illicit goods are not welcome on their stalls or in their shops.

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Front row, Mike Walsh and Dolores Riordan from Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards sign the charter. Back row Councillors NinaJeffries, Jackie Hook (Devon County Councillor for Newton Abbot North) and Councillor Rufus Gilbert.

At the launch, Market Manager, Mike Walsh and trader Diane Smith talk about the benefits of the Real Deal Charter. Watch the video here –

Newton Abbot Market is committed to fake-free trading and has signed the Real Deal National Markets Charter with Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service. By signing the charter, the market and its stallholders are reaffirming their commitment that fake and other illicit goods are not welcome.

The Teignbridge District Council-owned market includes both the indoor and outdoor town centre markets and the weekday food hall.

Currently there are more than 500 markets across the country that have signed the voluntary charter. The charter provides guidance, information and promotional support to trading standards and market operators to ensure that markets are free of counterfeit and other illegal goods

Trading standards has a statutory responsibility to protect consumers from the sale of illegal goods.

Counterfeit and illicit goods are often of inferior quality, and in most cases unsafe as they have not gone through the same rigorous safety checks that legitimate goods go through. Their sale can damage consumer confidence and legitimate businesses, because they infringe existing intellectual property rights.

Mike Walsh, Market Manager said: “It is important for our customers to know that they are purchasing good quality products that are safe and reasonably priced. When the opportunity arose to be part of the Real Deal Campaign we welcomed it, the sale of fake and illicit goods can have an adverse impact on business and reputation and it is important that customers can shop here with confidence.”

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Commitment to Real Deal stops sale of counterfeit clothing at Black Isle Show

Thanks to a complaint from one of the trade stalls at the recent Black Isle Show and the quick response from the Black Isle Farmers Society, Highland Council Trading Standards were able to seize just over 100 counterfeit hoodies, polo shirts and t-shirts from a stall at the show.

Enforcement Officers from Trading Standards acted on the complaint and found the trader selling many different fake items using popular brands such as Fortnite, Armani, Adidas, Nike, Superdry, Polo and Boss. The investigation is on-going.

In 2015 the Black Isle Show signed up to the Real Deal markets’ charter, a nationwide initiative that encourages local authority Trading Standards and market operators to work closely together and share information so that local markets, car boot sales remain free from counterfeit goods and are a safe environment in which to shop and trade. The agreement was the first of its kind in the Highlands and the furthest North for the Real Deal Scheme.

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At the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Annual Symposium in Brighton today, the National Markets Group for IP Protection celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Real Deal Campaign for Fake-Free Markets, making it one of the longest-running IP protection awareness campaigns in the UK.

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Pembrokeshire Trading Standards and Carew Market sign Real Deal to ensure fake-free shopping

Carew Market and Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards have pledged to work together to ensure the market is a good, fake-free environment in which to trade and shop.

Both organisations have signed the Real Deal – a national charter for safe, fair markets.

Trading Standards Officer John Mallinson said: “Trading Standards has a statutory responsibility to protect consumers from the sale of fake and illegal goods which can pose a safety risk and be damaging to the business of honest traders.

“The Real Deal partnership with Carew Market will give a boost to consumer protection in Pembrokeshire.”

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Welsh Trading Standards, Police and NMG members seizing counterfeit goods destined for sellers on social media

A new, government-backed initiative has been developed to protect consumers and small businesses from the harm caused by the growing trade in fake goods on social media ‘buy-and-sell’ groups.

The Real Deal Online programme has been developed by the National Markets Group for IP Protection (NMG) in conjunction with the National Trading Standards eCrime Team (NTSeCT) to create greater awareness amongst administrators of local social media groups of their legal responsibility to prevent the promotion and sale of counterfeit goods and other illicit products within their groups.

The programme, which will be rolled out at a local level by Trading Standards Services, establishes a process for trading standards officers to contact administrators of social media buy-and-sell groups and help them run a fake-free group. Administrators are invited to follow the Real Deal Online Code of Practice.

Intellectual Property Minister Sam Gyimah welcomed the initiative, saying:

“The UK is rich with talented creators and innovators, and we must protect their intellectual property rights both online and offline. Social media can be a force for good making it easier for users to buy and sell goods, however with this can come an increase of counterfeit goods and other illegal products.”

 “This is why I welcome this initiative, that brings together industry, Trading Standards and local government to help protect legitimate businesses and allow rightsholders to reap the benefits of their own creations.”

The Real Deal Online Code of Practice requires group administrators to welcome local trading standards officers as members of the group and to agree to five simple steps:

  1. to prohibit the sale of counterfeit and other illicit goods;
  2. to act on information from intellectual property rights owners and their representatives who highlight the sale of illegal goods;
  3. to notify trading standards if they believe that illegal goods are being sold within the group and to exclude the sellers of these goods;
  4. to highlight warnings and advice notices posted by trading standards;
  5. to make sure that all members of the group are aware of its fake-free policy.

Groups that agree to follow the Real Deal Online Code of Practice, will be allowed to display the Real Deal logo which will act as a visual assurance to shoppers and to traders that it is a fake-free shopping zone.  Continue reading

Hundreds of markets in partnership with trading standards partners are helping to support innovation and growth

Wednesday 4 July saw the third annual British IP Day – a celebration of the huge contribution that intellectual property makes to the UK, culturally and economically.

To mark the day, the latest Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) tracker was launched by the IPO.

The Alliance for IP coordinated a series of events, ​which saw creators and IP-rich business owners from across diverse industries descend on Parliament. There, designers, authors, brand owners, artists, publishers, photographers and others heard from IP minister Sam Gyimah MP before meeting their local MPs to tell the story of how crucial intellectual property is to their work and success.

In the evening at the Alliance for IP’s Summer Reception, leading stakeholders from industry, consumer groups and law enforcement gathered on the Terrace Pavilion in the House of Commons, along with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long Bailey MP,  spoke passionately about the importance of protecting IP as an essential element of the innovation and creativity that is such a key part of the British economy. 

Through the Real Deal programme, hundreds of markets are now working with their local trading standards services to ensure that IP is respected and protected across markets and car boot fairs across the country. And the Real Deal partnership model is now also being extended to the online and social media space. By facilitating safe, fair, fake-free marketplaces, the Real Deal and its many supporting organisations are delighted to play a part in British IP Day, and every day, helping to spread the Alliance’s message of ‘innovation and growth through IP’.



A long-standing Sunday market in Bristol is heralding a new dawn by making a commitment to fake-free trading by signing the Real Deal Charter with Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards service. Privately-owned company, Cotswold Markets, which operates at the wholesale fruit market venue in the St Philip’s Marsh area of the city, has recently introduced a strict ‘no counterfeits’ policy and is committed to changing the face of the market and upgrading the retail offering by attracting new traders selling good quality, genuine bargains.

The market is following in the footsteps of Bristol City Council’s St Nicholas Markets which signed the Real Deal Code of Practice in 2016. Together, they are part of a movement of over 500 markets across the country that have signed the voluntary Real Deal Charter with their local trading standards services to say ‘no’ to fakes.

Dave Joynes of privately-owned company Cotswold Markets, has been involved in the operation of the popular Sunday market at the wholesale fruit market venue in the St Phillip’s Marsh area of the city since its establishment 37 years ago. He said: “We are delighted to sign up to the Real Deal and we would like to thank Graham Mogg, the brands expert, for all his help and advice to get us on-board. Visitors to our market can shop knowing that what they spend their hard-earned cash on is legitimate, safe and value for money.

Traders at the Sunday market also support the new direction: Andy Pattison, Managing Director of A P Meats said: “We are pleased that Cotswold Markets are signing up to the Real Deal, it means shoppers can shop with confidence knowing every measure has been taken to ensure what the customer buys is genuine.”

Ijaz Chohan of I Go Sports said: “We are delighted that Cotswold Markets are signing up to the Real Deal. For ourselves, selling genuine sportswear since the Market opened in 1981, it protects our income and stops poor quality imitations coming on to the market.”

Welcoming the Sunday retail market into the Real Deal scheme, Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet member at Bristol City Council with responsibility for regulatory services, said: “We are pleased to support the commitment shown by the Market Operator to provide a safe and fair market in Bristol. It sends a clear message that traders selling counterfeit or illegal goods will not be tolerated. We will continue to support the market to thrive as a unique, interesting and safe shopping place for local people and visitors to Bristol.

“We are totally committed to actively encouraging quality products to be sold in Bristol. The sale of fake and illicit goods not only has a detrimental effect on the reputation of both the market and legitimate traders, they can impact on the reputation of the brands they sell and their customers by supplying both unsafe and incorrectly described goods.”

Graham Mogg, Chair of the National Markets Group for IP Protection, said: “The sale of counterfeit goods at Bristol Sunday Retail Market has had an adverse impact on consumers and legitimate businesses over many years. This milestone signing of the Real Deal charter is the result of some fantastic collaborative work over the last 12 months and I congratulate all concerned.”

Patricia Lennon, Real Deal Campaign Manager, said: “By signing the Real Deal Charter, markets can display the Real Deal logo, giving an assurance to shoppers and to market traders that they are in a fake-free zone. At the same time, it sends a clear signal to any would-be traders in counterfeit goods that they are not welcome.

“We would like to thank Cotswold Markets, the council’s market team, and the city’s trading standards service for working together over a sustained period to implement the Real Deal. It demonstrates that no matter how large or diverse a market’s offering, the Real Deal’s fake-free status can be achieved through partnership working between the market operator, trademark and copyright owners and trading standards.”

Editor’s Notes

About the Real Deal
The ‘Real Deal’ campaign is an initiative of the National Markets Group for IP Protection. It is a cross-sector, partnership initiative, bringing together local authority trading standards services, market operators and traders, industry groups, and copyright and trademark owners, all of whom are united with a common commitment to tackling illicit trading at markets.
Since its launch in 2009, more than 500 markets across the UK have made a commitment to fake-free trading by signing the voluntary Real Deal Charter with their local trading standards. The Real Deal initiative is supported by a wide range of UK public and private sector organisations and is funded by industry groups and IP rights owners who are members of the National Markets Group for IP Protection. More information on the Real Deal campaign and a list of its partners, and the UK markets and councils that have signed up to its fake-free ethos, can be found at:

About Cotswold Markets