Counterfeit Free Christmas

A Cilfynydd woman who sold a counterfeit designer top to an investigating Trades Mark officer – and was later found to have sold hundreds of pounds worth of fake branded items on Facebook – has been prosecuted.

The case is an important one at this time of year, as Trading Standards gear up to protect residents from the poor quality and even dangerous fake goods that flood the market during the festive season. Find out more about how consumers can protect themselves this Christmas

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Trading Standards began investigating Donna Lewis, 24, then of Coronation Terrace, after receiving a complaint she sold a fake Superdry hooded top for £20 to a customer she met in Talbot Green.

The item had been purchased via  Facebook selling page.

As a result of the sale, the top was sent off to be tested by Brands Managers and was confirmed to be fake.

Suspecting it was one of many fake items being sold, Trading Standards officers secured a warrant to search Lewis’ home, which was, at the time. They seized tops, hoodies and tracksuits from brands Superdry, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Converse, as well as Disney Frozen dolls. All were confirmed as fakes. Paperwork was also seized.

Following failed attempts to interview Donna Lewis, officers visited her Cilfynydd address to be told she had moved to Mountain Ash. She was interviewed in May this year.

Lewis told officers during the interview she had bought the goods from a market in Bristol and they were Christmas presents.

She denied selling any of the goods and, when asked about paperwork which appeared to be sales orders, she admitted she was going to sell them but changed her mind after being told it was illegal.

When shown screen shots of the selling page through which the original investigator had purchased the hoodie from, Lewis said she didn’t know the page and wasn’t involved in it. She then admitted she had bought trainers for her daughter through the page.

She also initially denied it was her who made the sale in Talbot Green but later admitted it, stating she was paid by representatives of the page to deliver the goods for around £3 an item. They would drop items for delivery to her and she would deliver them to customers. She said there were a number of people behind the selling page.

As a result, Donna Lewis was charged with five offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 relating to having in her possession, with a view to making gains for herself of another, counterfeit goods.

She appeared before Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on November 9 and admitted the offences. She was fined a total of £480 and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £20 victim surcharge. An order was made by the court for the forfeiture and destruction of all of the goods seized in the warrant.

Paul Mee, Service Director for Public Health and Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “This is the latest in a series of prosecutions where the public have been prevented from exposure to illegal, poor-quality fake designer goods.

“Cases such as this also ensure the livelihoods of those who work hard to uphold the law and only offer for sale the highest-quality, authentic goods, are protected.

“It is fitting that the fake designer items we seized from Donna Lewis last year were intended to be Christmas presents, as we are once again entering the busy festive season where the market is flooded with fake items.

“Whether you are knowingly buying a fake designer item to save a few pounds, or have unwittingly bought something not realising it is a copy, there is a price to pay for fake branded goods such as clothing, footwear, hair straighteners, toys and even alcohol.

“At best you will be paying for an inferior product which does not meet the standards the genuine brand intended. Worst case you could actually be buying – and using or wearing – an item which does not meet safety standards and could be dangerous.

“So, as we begin the seasonal countdown, we urge consumers to think twice about counterfeit goods and ensure they are handing over their hard-earned money only to genuine sellers.

“This is particularly the case when buying items advertised online or offered for sale in the pub. Our advice is to use reputable shops and sellers and, if in doubt, do not buy and contact Trading Standards.”

If you have concerns about counterfeit goods being bought or offered for sale, contact Trading Standards via 01443 425001.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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