In the haste to chase that must-have toy, or get the shopping done quickly with a few clicks on your phone – consumers might be just one click away from a very risky purchase. At best placing an order never to see their goods, or at worse ending up with an unsafe and very questionable counterfeit product.
It really is a case of Buyer Beware! and with counterfeit goods generating over $75Billion in revenues in 2019, The Good Play Guide is fighting back.
With so many seamless ways to pay, Paypal and other transactional apps make it quick and simple to transact and pay whilst providing access to millions of toys and games, from thousands of suppliers, right there in the palm of your hand on a smartphone.
They make it easy, simple and efficient for shoppers, creating countless fake eCommerce websites and portals advertising popular brands and products for (allegedly) amazing prices. Often designed to entice purchasers with buy now or FOMO (fear of missing out) messaging, they have consumers inputting personal and banking details with no intention of ever sending out a product, or at least indeed not the product the shopper thought they were purchasing. Once a transaction is complete, it is often very difficult to report these purchases and receive a refund of the money spent.
Questionable storefronts and fake e-commerce stores aren’t the only ones to watch out for.
Counterfeiters create packaging with logos, fonts, and colours stylised to match and look like popular brands and trending products. These fraudulent ‘sellers’ meticulously position their products to look like the real thing, often stealing digital IP and images of the authentic product from official sales channels to use on their own webpages, leaving the customer to find out the product is a counterfeit only at the point of delivery if they even receive the goods. It isn’t unheard of for copy-cat branded products to arrive in an empty box, with the recipient having no clue where to go to demand an answer or refund.
At popular times of the year, or particularly when the toy industry enjoys trending or craze products, counterfeit suppliers will pop up and then disappear, re-opening on another site with another company name leaving no trace and certainly no legitimate customer service support function.
If consumers being ‘ripped off’ for non-existent goods wasn’t problem enough, counterfeit toys are a major industry challenge.
Firstly, counterfeiters are essentially stealing money from the company being copied, and secondly, the quality of the product will likely be sub-standard and even dangerous.
Counterfeit toys, may break easily, or not work the way they are intended. The design of the toy is likely not to adhere to the strict toy standards set by national and global regulatory bodies. Reputable companies are required to employ extensive testing during the design, manufacture, and packaging stages of toy creation. Counterfeiters, of course, do not.
Toys that don’t adhere to industry guidelines may result in the use of toxic materials, such as lead paint or design flaws (often as a result of cost cutting shortcuts) that can result in choking hazards or even electric burns for consumers.
Led by Dr. Amanda Gummer, a psychologist and play expert working closely with toy and game manufacturers for over 20 years, we are fighting back.
Amanda has spoken at conferences, including the Consumers International World Congress in Portugal to raise awareness of the need for consumers to be protected from scammers and counterfeit products.