For the ten months of this year, the number of counterfeit goods detected in consignments sent to private individuals has almost tripled, which would suggest that part of the population still prefers potentially dangerous goods of unknown origin. Therefore, the Latvian Patent Office, in cooperation with the Customs Board of the State Revenue Service (SRS), launched the “Be original - choose the original!” campaign inviting everyone to find out the origin and quality of holiday gifts purchased online, so as not to suffer losses if the ordered goods are confiscated and transferred for destruction. Buying fakes creates the risk not only of losing money but also of being left without Christmas presents.
The customs authorities carry out controls on postal consignments received from third countries. Arturs Kovaļenko, Head of the Risk Management Department at the SRS Customs Board explains that consignments are chosen for control randomly as well as based on the results of risk analysis. If the control of accompanying documents or the control carried out by technical means makes customs officers suspect that the shipment contains non-compliant goods, it is opened for an in-depth inspection.
The collected information shows that in 2022, a total of 772 counterfeit goods sent in 199 postal consignments were detected and destroyed, while for the ten months of 2023, there were detected 192 shipments with 2,396 counterfeit goods. Most often, parcels sent to private individuals contain fake clothes and sports shoes, most popular brands being Nike, Adidas, The North Face, and Louis Vuitton.
Agris Batalauskis, Director of the Latvian Patent Office, notes that buying goods on the Internet incurs the risk not only of buying fake and low-quality goods, but also of losing money, because counterfeits can be confiscated and destroyed. There is a high risk that they can be dangerous to health and even to life, so I invite you to seriously consider whether you are ready to suffer financial losses or to face some other problems. I especially encourage you to think about gifts for children, because if you buy non-original items that do not meet safety requirements, the joy of getting a present and of the entire holiday can be overshadowed by a broken toy at best, and health problems at worst.
If counterfeit products are detected, the addressee and the representative of the right holder receive a notification immediately after the shipment is detained. Upon receipt of confirmation from the representative of the right holder that the goods are indeed counterfeit ones, the SRS Customs Board prepares a decision on the goods’ transfer for destruction. This decision, with the statement of its reasonableness, is sent to the representative of the right holder and also to the recipient of the goods.
The “Be original - choose the original!” campaign is organized by the Latvian Patent Office in cooperation with the SRS Customs Board, the Consumer Rights Protection Centre, and the State Police. It is financially supported by the European Union Intellectual Property Office and aims to draw attention to the negative impact of counterfeits on health, life, the environment, and the economy, and to encourage citizens to make a deliberate choice of genuine products.