Don’t be caught out by fake products.

Markets, car boot fairs, online and social media selling groups can all be great places to go bargain hunting. But sometimes a bargain seems just too good to be true. To avoid falling for a fake, remember the 4 Ps.

  • Price – If the price seems too good to be true, then the product may be fake. But remember that sellers of fake goods will sometimes price their wares at close to the price of genuine items to avoid suspicion.
  • Place – Certain items, for example high value, luxury goods are unlikely to be sold legitimately on market stalls. They are generally only available at exclusive, authorised outlets. If you are offered these on a market or car boot stall, then be suspicious.
  • Packaging – If a variety of different brands are offered in the same packaging, eg a standard cellophane wrapper, that should set alarm bells ringing. Also look out for spelling mistakes on the packaging.
  • Product – If the quality of a product is dubious, you should beware. Likewise, if a batch of standard, low-value items, such as basic t-shirts, have simply been over-printed with a range of different brand logos, they are likely to be cheap copies that have been churned out in an unauthorised factory.

Watch . .

In this short video the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Lead Officer for IP shows some examples of fake products and explains how the 4 Ps will help you to identify the real McCoy from the downright dodgy.  Watch video

What to do if you have been sold a fake . . .

If you have a complaint about fake goods within the UK, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506. They pass complaints to the appropriate local authority trading standards service.

Or you can report your complaint online at

The Citizens Advice website also provides helpful information on:

In Northern Ireland, you need to contact Consumerline


The information on this page is for guidance only and is not designed to be a replacement for professional advice.