Contributed by Consumer Affairs Agency (Japan)
What if the items you ordered through an online site and thought were authentic, turned out to be counterfeit? In Japan, the revised Trademark Act, Design Act, and Customs Act, enacted on October 1, 2022, strengthens the controls on goods infringing intellectual property. If goods sent from outside Japan to Japan are found to be a counterfeit by Customs, Customs will confiscate the goods, even if they were purchased for personal use. The goods will not be delivered to the purchaser. The purchaser may request reimbursement from the seller, but the seller is not required to reimburse the consumer for the purchase price in accordance with the law.
Here are some ways to avoid situations where you might unknowingly buy counterfeit goods,
- Check that the site's URL matches the brand's official name.
- Learn about the seller. Identify the seller's business name, physical address, telephone numbers and other contact information. If this information is not listed or is false, for example, the country code of the phone number does not match the location of the address or the phone number is not in service, the seller may not be trustworthy. The “About us" or "Contact us" at the bottom of the site may also contain links to this information.
- Check the seller’s website. See if there are any unusual fonts or sentence structures used in the text on the website. Also check if there is a policy for cancellation, returns, and refunds.
- Understand the description of the item you are buying. Be suspicious of low prices when you know the product is rare or typically priced high.
- Verify that there are options for payment that provide safeguards. Scammers pressure you to wire or transfer money to them because it’s easy to take your money and disappear. See if you can use a credit card instead because that method typically provides more protections.
(Source: National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan)
If you believe you have encountered this kind of scam, report it to: