HOW TO SEE IF A PRODUCT IS ORIGINAL OR COUNTERFEITED
For a consumer, verifying the authenticity of a product is not always easy. In particular for certain types of products such as medicines, cosmetics or food, this is rather complicated. On the other hand, however, for products such as clothing, accessories and footwear, there are a number of universally recognised rules and tricks that, if observed, can lead the consumer to understand quite easily the distinction between an original and a counterfeit product.
Some of the elements you need to pay attention to are:
- Price: Do not be tempted either by a much lower price or by a price that is in line with or slightly lower than that of the genuine product. Retailers of counterfeit goods often use this trick to convince the potential buyer that they are getting a deal.
- Packaging: Carefully evaluating the packaging of the product, the packaging and any other element that, if obviously of low quality, sets off alarm bells, is always crucial.
- Feeling by touch: Fake products are often much heavier and stiffer than authentic ones because they are made of cheaper and poorer quality materials.
- Label: The label is one of the main detectors of a product’s lack of authenticity. Blurred, careless-looking labels with missing information are a clear warning sign that the item is fake.
- Certifications: When expressly required by the relevant regulations, it is good practice to request and demand that a retailer provide the consumer with a document attesting to the authenticity of the products sold.
- Other signs: Further indications of a counterfeit product include generic differences in design, non-adherence to the original products on the manufacturer’s official website and inconsistencies in product descriptions compared to the originale.
SAFE PRODUCTS’ CAMPAIGN: A MISE INITIATIVE
We have already mentioned the importance of always checking the labels of purchased products as the true ‘identity card’ of the products themselves. More specifically, the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy, among the rules to protect oneself from counterfeiting, indicates to be wary of all labels with tiny or unclear wording, lacking indications of origin and the ‘CE mark’. While, on the contrary, it recognises the validity of labels that guarantee the best knowledge of the product by indicating transparency of the brand, production process, place of production and characteristics.
In particular, the ‘Safe Products’ campaign promoted by the MISE raises awareness among citizens to pay more and more attention to the CE marking, the first safeguard of health and safety for consumers, which manufacturers must affix to certain categories of products – toys, electrical equipment, personal protective equipment, medical devices, recreational craft, drones, radio equipment – in order to move goods within the European Union.
BARCODES CAN ALSO BE COUNTERFEITED
Speaking of the difference between counterfeit and genuine products, especially within the European Union, it is essential to also mention the falsification of EAN codes. The EAN or European Article Number, in fact, is the code used to identify products sold within the European territory. More specifically, the EAN code, which is approved according to GS1 standards that allow anyone to read a barcode, creates a ‘common language’ for manufacturers and distributors of products who should always take care to check its validity.
Deciphering an EAN barcode is in fact quite simple and very useful. The first two digits indicate the country of origin, the next five correspond to the identifier of the company that manufactured the product, while those between the eighth and twelfth position belong to the specific item. Finally, the barcode ends with a check digit, which serves to confirm the correctness of the code.
TODAY VERIFYING THE AUTHENTICITY OF A PRODUCT CAN BE EASIER
To detect and help stop counterfeiting, in addition to human verification, there are now more advanced digital verification systems, valuable allies in certifying the origin of a product or content. lab-go’s Brand Protection and Authenticity Certification service was created precisely for this purpose: to guarantee the authenticity of products purchased online and offline in a simple and innovative way and to eliminate any risk of counterfeiting.
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