Taking the worry out of online shopping
A new online shopping directory has been created in a bid to help consumers avoid being ripped off online.
Online counterfeiting and illegal shopping sites are a growing trend and more and more consumers are getting caught out. Fake luxury brand websites can attract over 120 million visits a year with an estimated £82 billion being spent online on counterfeit goods.
Brand-i (brand-i.org) was created to resolve this problem. The website works very simply by allowing consumers to search through their favourite well known brands and find the genuine online stockists.
One of the co-creators comes from a trading standards background and specialises in intellectual property (anti-counterfeiting) enforcement. Working with co-founder Jenny Dalton they wanted to find a solution for consumers that meant they avoided coming across fake sites.
Jenny Dalton, Brand-i founder, said: ‘The idea for Brand-i was that there had to be a better way of reassuring online shoppers that the stores they were using were authentic and selling the genuine products. Our site allows consumers to find these genuine sites and avoid them taking a risk.'
The directory is free to use and new brands will be added to the site to reflect the shopping trends of the online consumer. Examples of the type of brands that are currently involved include: UGG, GHD, Chanel, Pandora, Ted Baker as well as two Premier League football clubs.
Andy Foster, Operations Director for the Trading Standards Institute, a partner of Brand-i, said: ‘Because the internet is largely unpoliced, it is becoming increasingly difficult to track.
‘Brand-i offers a way for consumers to wade through the hundreds of counterfeit stores that appear in search engine results or on social media pages. It's an important additional tool in fighting internet crime but also empowering consumers - not just with the directory listings but advice on how to recognise illegal web stores. There is also a facility for consumers to report sites they have been ripped off by or what they suspect aren't genuine.'
Liz Bales, from the Industry Trust - an affiliate of Brand-i, said: ‘A sizeable group of consumers are simply confused as to what is and isn't legal or official. Consumers can be aggrieved when their intended official purchases transpire to be of poor quality. Equally, if we are looking for consumers to do more of the right thing then we need to make it easy for them and Brand-i does just that - connecting consumers with official sources for the products they want.'