Think Buying Fake Handbags is Harmless?
Thinking of buying a fake designer handbag? One might reason that they are a harmless way to own a designer label without paying the hefty price tag. Unfortunately, this reasoning couldn’t be farther from the truth. What was once believed to be a “victimless” crime is, in reality, a crime of many. At TBF, we do nothing but love handbags and their designers. And we want everyone to know that it is so much more serious than simply infringing upon the intellectual property rights of companies or “cheapening” their images.
So who exactly are the victims of this so-called “victimless” crime. Many of these victims can be found in the factories in which the fakes are made. The truth is that most counterfeiters rely on child labor to produce their goods. What’s even worse is that many these children are forced to work in deplorable conditions. Of course, this is to be expected. After all, producing fake goods is illegal. This means that the work must be done in private, with these children being locked up in large rooms that are set up for assembly line production. According to an article in the January 2007 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, children as young as eight are “worked ragged in barely tolerable conditions, turning out everything from faux-luxury-brand handbags, wallets, and belts to cell phones.” The author of this article, Dana Thomas, goes on to say that the children live in these factories with little to no adult supervision.
For some people, the thought of exhausted little children piecing together fake designer handbags half way around the world is no big deal. Out of sight and out of mind. But what about the victims that can be found here in our own backyards? According to another article written by Dana Thomas, found in the January 2008 issue of Harper’s Bazaar,
“counterfeiting costs American businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually and is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 jobs in the United States.” The truth of the matter is, we are all victims of counterfeiting because it has such a devastating effect on our economy.
Unfortunately, the list of victims does not stop here. Innocent people all over the world could have potentially died due to the counterfeit trade. According to The Providence, a Canadian newspaper, terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas derive a large portion of their funding from the sales of counterfeit merchandise in North America. And according to an article written by Scott Malone for WWD, officials have evidence that the 1993 truck bombing at the World Trade Center was funded by a counterfeit T-Shirt ring. Knowing this, it’s disturbing to think what a “harmless” fake designer handbag bought off the street could have helped finance.
So if fakes are so bad, then why are there still so many of them out there? At one time, law enforcement officials would turn a blind eye to peddlers selling fakes on the street or house wives selling knockoffs at purse parties. After all, they do have more “important” matters to attend to. But this has started to change over recent years as the government has become more and more aware of the link between counterfeits and other, more serious, criminal activity. However, law enforcement efforts continue to be under minded by ordinary people that deliberately buy fakes. As long as there is a demand, there will continue to be a supply. So that’s where we, the consumers, come in. All of us at TBF urge everyone to think twice about intentionally buying fake designer handbags (or fake anything for that matter). If you can’t afford to buy the real thing, then don’t buy one at all. Pick out something nice from a legitimate, less-expensive brand or designer. Please! Help put a stop to counterfeiting!
Malone, Scott. Counterfeiting and Terrorism?. WWD. 15 Sept. 2003.
Thomas, Dana. The Fake Trade: Wanted for Stealing Childhoods. Harper’s Bazaar. January 2007.
Thomas, Dana. The Fake Trade: Counterfeiting is a Business Worth $600 Billion a Year–and Growing. Harper’s Bazaar. January 2008.
Tonner, Mark. Think Fake Goods are Harmless? Think Again. The Providence. 24 Feb. 2008.
Think you may have unintentionally bought a fake? We at TBF understand that there are many crooked eBay sellers and shady websites out there that dupe people into buying fakes by stating that the items are authentic. It could happen to anyone! But there is something you can do about it. If it was an eBay transaction, file a claim with eBay and Paypal. Or if it was a shady website, call your credit card company to have the charge stopped. And remember, you can always come talk to us gals at TBF. We will do our best to help you authenticate an eBay purchase or tell you if a website is legitimate. We are here to help!