Currently, the toy market is being flooded with counterfeit toys by the criminal underworld. The problem is not the fact that they are getting really good at producing these fakes, but more the dangers these toys pose.
Parents have been warned about the potential dangers of buying cheap toys for their children, and have been told to be vigilant after tests of seized items showed some contained high levels of phthalates believed to increase the risk of developing cancer. “It is frightening to think that large quantities of phthalates are still being used in children’s toys, especially when it can cause such serious long-term consequences to a person’s health,” said Robert Chantry-Price, a lead officer for product safety at the CTSI (Chartered Trading Standards Institute).
“Counterfeits are getting more sophisticated,” says Tom Godfrey, from Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group – CHOICE. “So, in some cases the toys may well look good from the outside, but what we find is that they won’t meet any of the safety standards. Genuine toys will have all the materials tested, all using the types of plastic that are known to be safe. Counterfeit goods haven’t gone through any of these tests, and so they won’t have an approved mark on the back showing the suitable age range for the product.”
Parents have been advised to be cautious and not fall for the first deal they see, buy only from reputable shops, beware of products that are drastically cheaper and look at the packaging for the distributor’s details and a CE mark.
Here are some tips:
- Always use reputable retailers – whether on the high street or online. They will be careful what products they stock, and you should be able to return something if there is a fault.
- Beware of counterfeit goods. Look out for the type, batch, serial or model number – these must be present and don’t buy a product if they aren’t. Also, make sure a CE mark is present.
- Beware of low prices. If it seems too good to be true, it’s likely the item is a counterfeit and so potentially more dangerous.
- Check the age range of the product. Toys that might be dangerous for children under three must say so and state the risks, for example “WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD”.
- You can also sometimes get caught out at places like local markets, temporary shops and car boot sales.
“If you do need to buy something from a website,” says Hal Rosenburg, the owner of Just Collectables, Melbourne’s top genuine action figure shop for over 20 years. “you want to look at how complete the descriptions are, and the level of communication. If you see something on eBay that’s listed as just a loose figure in a bag, you don’t always know what you’re going to get.”
In terms of making payment, says Hal, “make sure you use PayPal because you’ve got a layer of protection there. What they do is automatically hold your payment for a period of time so you have recourse straight away if something isn’t right and you can get your money back.”
Impact on Africa
As the global trade in counterfeit goods is growing, Africa is increasingly being targeted as a market for counterfeit merchandise. Recently, a new trend has also emerged-Africa is being used as a transit route for fake goods, which poses an indirect threat to European and American markets, too. Counterfeit products are not produced to any significant degree in Africa. These products are mostly imported from Asia, and particularly China. As such, Africa is fast becoming a dumping ground for knock-off goods. A very high percentage of counterfeit shipments from China are destined for Africa, either directly or via ports such as Karachi, Dubai or Hong Kong, in an effort to reroute the products so that their country of origin can be disguised. A number of factors contribute to Africa’s attractiveness in being a destination of choice for counterfeiters, including:
- the trade links between Africa and China, where most counterfeit goods originate from, are increasing
- the continent’s porous borders, while outdated legislation and weak enforcement mechanisms have helped to facilitate the illicit trade across Africa
- the reality that governments across the continent do no share information regarding fake goods
- the reality that with modest resources at their disposal, many Africans do not consider the trafficking in counterfeits a serious crime, and would therefore not hesitate to acquire a knock-off product.
Due to these factors, the problem of fake goods is increasingly serious and the continent is fast becoming ‘fair game’ for counterfeiters and it is hurting the continent’s population and economy.
Buying fakes are not innocent. Crime syndicates thrive on the trade to keep their illicit activities going. With the African market in fake goods expanding, one can expect criminal syndicates strengthening their foothold across the continent. This means that governments will have to invest more in law enforcement, and in so doing divert much-needed resources away from human development endeavours.
Another method of curbing the expansion of these fake good trade is being able to effectively authenticate these goods. Pagemark Africa is a company who are leading the way in this field. Pagemark Africa are experts in electronic document and printing technologies. Pagemark Africa is the African based supplier of software technologies. With a patent approved authentication technology called Pelta™, Pagemark is providing governments and companies internationally with secure printing solutions, product and document authentication, serialization solutions, and track and trace software.
Many recent innovations are based on the core technology Pelta™ which is a software authentication product based on 2D bar codes. Pelta™ provides government and brand owners with a covert layer of data to utilise as required to support their authentication or serialization requirements. Pagemark works with many governments and companies across the globe and guides them toward a common goal: secure document authentication.
So next time you are looking for solutions, custom built for the South African market, look no further than Pagemark Africa.
Solutions related to authentication and serialisation/track and trace, are in demand. Pagemark African can ensure cutting edge technology based solutions for South African based businesses, within all industries. We also provide many solutions developed to answer specific needs of Brand Owners and governments related to battling fraud, counterfeiting, and supply chain divergence while increasing Return on Investment (ROI).
We are experts in electronic document and printing technologies. Members of Pagemark have a long history of supplying document technologies to the printing industry.
Pagemark Africa is the African based supplier of software technologies. With a patent approved authentication technology called Pelta™, Pagemark is providing governments and companies internationally with secure printing solutions, product and document authentication, serialization solutions, and track and trace software.
Many recent innovations are based on the core technology Pelta™ which is a software authentication product based on 2D bar codes. Pelta™ provides government and brand owners with a covert layer of data to utilise as required to support their authentication or serialization requirements. Pagemark works with many governments and companies across the globe and guides them toward a common goal: secure document authentication