Counterfeit goods are a major problem for some flea markets and swap meets. Many places do not allow them and will even issue fines to vendors if they are found selling knockoff items. The problem that sellers run into is sometimes they do not know the brands they are buying when purchasing a huge pallet of goods from a closeout or liquidation dealer, which can lead to fake brands ending up in their booths.
To save both yourself and your customers the trouble, here are some helpful tips to think about before purchasing name brand merchandise:
Make Sure the Dealer is Reputable
Whether or not you are buying name brand merchandise, sellers should always make sure they are purchasing from a reputable dealer. Check to see how long they have been in business, if they have any customer reviews on their website, and if you know anyone who has bought from them before. If you come up with nothing from all of the above, then simply give them a call. Any trustworthy business will be up front with their counterfeit policies, and speaking with them one-on-one will help you get a better feel for how they do business.
Inspect the Products Before Making a Purchase
Most wholesale companies have warehouses where they keep all of their goods, and they sometimes allow buyers to come straight to the warehouse to either pick up the items they purchased or to shop from the warehouse in person. If the company encourages you to buy online and have the merchandise shipped without being able to look at it, that can be a red flag. Call them up first to see if you can shop from their warehouse in person or inspect the items before they leave the property so if you notice any counterfeit products, you can address the concerns right there.
Check for Spelling Errors
On websites where wholesale companies list the name brand products they sell, be sure to check for any spelling errors. For example, some businesses will type “Calvin Clein” or “Guci” as their own way of letting buyers know it is a knockoff brand. This is an immediate red flag and not just a simple typo, so make sure the brand’s name is spelled correctly.
Compare Against the Manufacturer’s Website
If the names are all spelled correctly, another way to see if the product is fake is by comparing the item to the original manufacturer’s website. Some signs that may indicate the product is a counterfeit include not being able to find the identical product on the manufacturer’s official website, differences in design, different product descriptions, and a significant difference in price. Sometimes closeout and liquidation companies will sell name brand products for a slightly cheaper price, but if the difference is large, then that is a red flag.
Beware of Electrical Goods
Counterfeit apparel, footwear, and fashion accessories are not the only things vendors should be concerned about purchasing. A 2018 study from Electrical Safety First tested 15 electrical products from three major online marketplaces and found a shocking 14 of these failed to meet UK safety standards. Before buying an electrical product, even if you have proof it is authentic and not a counterfeit, use Electrical Safety First’s Product Recall Tool to check if the product has a recall notice or safety alert.
Following these steps can help ensure vendors stay safe from counterfeit fines from flea markets and swap meets, and angry customers. Always be sure to know what you are buying before making a purchase.