February 02 2017 – Chris Clearman
Counterfeit goods are a huge problem for today’s consumer, totaling an estimated 500 billion dollars annually. Odds are good that you’ve accidentally bought a counterfeit and never even knew it. Counterfeits are no longer limited to high-end handbags and shoes. They’ve trickled their way into everyday products. This is especially true if you shop on marketplaces like Amazon.com where counterfeiters run rampant.
Counterfeit goods are responsible for dismantling an estimated 750,000 jobs and 200 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. alone. It’s easy to see how companies are suffering, but the everyday consumer should be just as concerned.
To emphasize the extent of this problem, consider that counterfeit prescription drugs make up an estimated 10% of the global prescription drug supply chain and are often sold unknowingly by reputable pharmacies and hospitals worldwide.
On a less extreme level, counterfeiters make low-quality versions of everyday products that provide customers with a bad product experience. The counterfeit product may look the same, but that’s about as far as the similarities usually go. Reputable brands take extreme care to design and manufacture products that meet the expectations of their customers. Counterfeiters do not. They often use low quality materials, extra fillers, or skip critical invisible details like adding a waterproof coating. This results in products that underwhelm consumers and leave a bad impression of the brand they’re replicating.
At Matador we’ve recently seen our share of counterfeits and we’re taking immediate action against it. Throughout Q1 2017 Matador is implementing a program with the Italian based company Certilogo to ensure our customers always receive genuine goods. Matador products will ship with the Certilogo hologram that contains a serial number and a QR code. This QR code can be scanned by any smartphone and the product authenticity can be verified by Certilogo’s artificial intelligence authentication system anywhere in the world. This way consumers can be sure they’re getting the best packable gear regardless of which retailer, country, or platform they choose to purchase from.
As an everyday consumer, there are steps you can take to ensure you don’t end up with sub-par counterfeit merchandise. The biggest recommendation is to avoid third-party marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. Even if the product is available through “Amazon Prime” it is no less likely to be counterfeit. Traditional online retailers like BestBuy.com or REI.com are less likely to sell counterfeits since they often buy their goods directly from the manufacturer. Your safest bet is to buy directly from the brand’s website.
If something feels slightly off with a product, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer to verify authenticity. They can often walk you through the steps to identify a fake and it’s not unheard of for brands to trade your fake for the real thing.