Families beware of fake goods this Christmas

copy cats ahead sign

copy cats ahead signSo many of us families are on a tight budget this Christmas and, with the holiday season usually being a costly affair anyway, the lure of a deal which seems too good to be true can be difficult to resist.

With that in mind, the UK Border Agency hopes to prevent many of us from falling victim to cash-draining scams this Christmas by warning people to be wary of counterfeit goods, which all too often flood the market at this time of year.

"Check, double check and check again," is the advice being given, after staff have already seized tens of thousands of fake goods which have been smuggled into the UK in recent months.

They are generally sold to unsuspecting customers, like mums and dads just like us who want to save a bit of money and still buy our loved ones the perfect Christmas present.

Thousands of counterfeit UGG boots, GHD hair straighteners, iPhones and iPads have been seized of late and Grant Miller, who works at the UK Border Agency's Heathrow International Trade Division, reveals that these products are at best inferior to the real products and, at worst, hazardous.

He said: "We are uncovering all sorts of fake goods, from beauty products to children's toys, and we're warning people to be particularly wary of buying cheap items online or from unofficial traders.

"It's easy to be tricked into thinking you're getting a bargain, but in the run-up to Christmas our message is that if something appears too good to be true it probably is."

Trading Standards Institute chief executive Ron Gainsford added: "In this difficult economic climate money is tight for many of us, but there could be a high price to pay for bargain presents that aren't the real deal.

"The external appearance and packaging of electrical goods such as chargers and hair straighteners may be copied fairly well, but the internal composition and materials are likely to be substandard and could make the item very dangerous. Similarly toys, jewellery, alcohol and cigarettes might look the part but could turn out to be toxic.

"Check, double check and check again to make sure what you are buying and where you are buying from is the real deal."

Counterfeit products are never the answer when trying to save money. Those of you who do want to make your money stretch that little bit further during the holiday season could check out this guide to saving money on Christmas shopping.