#KTforGood: Let's get real in our fight against fakes


#KTforGood: Lets get real in our fight against fakes

There are disparate motives for those of us who do knowingly indulge in buying fakes.

By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)

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Published: Sun 16 Jun 2019, 8:32 PM

It's that time of the month again. In keeping with the Khaleej Times promise to raise and resolve issues that impact our audience and those that our society is keen to address, the #KTforGood campaign for the month of June targets fakes. As in counterfeit goods, imitations, replicas, first copies. the forgers have a sophisticated system of nomenclature for their illicit trade. The goods themselves vary from luxury watches, handbags and other accessories to auto spare parts, medicines and other pharma products, cosmetics, gadgets and gizmos, footwear, software, toys, jewellery. you name it. The fake goods industry has grown into a $1.2-trillion giant that threatens to overwhelm the originals if it isn't reined in.
There are disparate motives for those of us who do knowingly indulge in buying fakes.
Some of us may actually give in to just help out that boyish-looking salesperson who seems desperate to make the sale. After all, most of us expats can always palm off the faux watch to an unsuspecting (but distant) relative while on our annual trips back, no? Or, simply, we may not have the ability or the inclination to pay for the real thing, but still aspire to flaunt a designer brand to fit-in or stand out among our peer group.
And then there are those who may not be fully aware that what we are buying is fake, and are happy to 'make a killing' with the purchase.
At a superficial level, though, there is this basic question: Is it really possible that the Dh50 sought by the teen peddling a fake Gucci watch at the corner of the souq is going towards funding some drug lord in Mexico? What's so wrong in giving in to the temptation of picking up that knock-off designer handbag or wallet at knocked-down prices? Not the medicine or cosmetics or even toys - everyone understands the perils of knowingly purchasing such fakes. But, say, a fake LV? The person buying a fake LV would, perhaps, never buy an original. So LV isn't really losing a customer, is it? This logic is twisted and ignores the billions of dirhams that a brand like LV would have spent in its ecosystem of research, design, display, brand-building, and marketing not to mention ethical sourcing and manufacturing.
But even if we go with that admittedly twisted logic that the fake buyer was never going to buy the original, the fact remains that there is every chance that the counterfeit goods - be it a leather handbag or wallet, a perfume, a watch, or an iPhone charger - uses dubious materials including toxic chemicals harmful to your health, child labour to manufacture and/or smuggle those goods, inferior components that could make the charger explode on your bedside table in the night. Fakes do cost more. The brazen act of buying shameless fakes is something that is injurious to our health, the financial health of the companies whose products are being counterfeited, and the economic health of the countries where such goods are being peddled (it shouldn't come as a surprise that counterfeiters evade taxes). And at least for a section of the fake goods, the money made out of such a sale is used to fund gang wars, drug trade and organised crime.
Starting today, KT will take you on a 14-day journey that will expose the dirty underbelly of the counterfeit trade, guide you on the perils of making a seemingly harmless purchase of a fake perfume or toy, educate you on how to spot a fake and what to do in case you do, and how you can participate in the UAE government's drive against fakes. Let's get real in our fight against fakes.

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