Ronnie Megaughin: Real cost of fake goods too high a price to pay

Fake goods are made in unregulated environments, without regard for health and safety regulations. Picture: PA
Fake goods are made in unregulated environments, without regard for health and safety regulations. Picture: PA
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IF A bargain seems too good to be true then it probably is, writes Ronnie Megaughin

We all love to find a bargain. There’s nothing wrong in hitting the sales or grabbing a cheap deal from a clearance bin or a retail website.

But where it is definitely wrong is when we know that the price is too good to believe and we turn a blind eye to the fact that it is likely to be an illicit or counterfeit product.

Fake goods are made in unregulated environments, without regard for health and safety regulations, so it’s impossible to know what’s in them.

Illicit trade also hurts businesses in Scotland very hard. People choosing dodgy bargains at markets, car boot sales or on the internet impacts hugely on retailers and manufacturers – and less-than genuine goods being sold closes businesses and puts people out of work.

This has become increasingly important as illicit trade moves off the streets and online, using websites which are often largely populated by legitimate traders, like eBay, to buy illicit and counterfeit goods.

That’s why it is so important that we all collectively take a step back to question the true cost of fake goods.

It is up to us all to work to tackle this problem and to change perceptions. We all need to take responsibilities not to buy illicit or counterfeit products to make Scotland a hostile environment for this kind of trade.

And in case anyone thinks this is scaremongering, then please think again.

There’s recent cases of counterfeit dental equipment coming into the UK, including drills that can explode in someone’s mouth; and fake condoms that could cause all sorts of physical harm. Paint stripper and nail varnish remover have been found in mascaras and liquid eyeliners which can potentially cause blindness

Our Anti Illicit Trade Summit this week highlights the scale of the challenge faced by our police and Trading Standards – but it also provide a platform to hear how prevention, intelligence and enforcement is being enhanced to crack down on the problem.

If we are to disrupt the activities of the crooks and to protect our businesses, we all need to play our part by stopping the next time we think we’re onto a bargain and saying no.

• Chief Inspector Ronnie Megaughin, deputy director of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre

For more information on Anti Illicit Trade Conference 2016 and to download the delegate packs, visit: www.sbrcentre.co.uk