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UK flooded with fake must-have toys for Christmas

Transformers – counterfeits in disguise.

December 14, 2007; 03:26 AM
Stressed parents desperate to buy their children the must-have toy this Christmas are at risk of picking up potentially poisonous counterfeits from China, as a result of a flood of Optimus Prime toys being sold from the Far East into the UK, via the Internet. During the past week alone there were 862 unofficial online auctions for the Transformers Optimus Prime Autobot, according to analysis from online brand protection specialist, NetNames.

The research, carried out through NetNames’ sister company Envisional, alarmingly revealed that more than one in five (21%) of the Transformers Optimus Prime Autobots offered was likely to be a cheaply made fake from the Far East. Given the recent problems faced by the UK toy industry involving goods from China, this news is a further blow to consumer confidence in the run up to Christmas. The analysis also revealed the top 10 sellers were responsible for almost a quarter (24%) of all the auctions.

The analysis also revealed that there was a wide variety of counterfeit Optimus Prime merchandise offered including masks, key rings, watches and clothing. Similarly, more than one of four (26%) of all the associated merchandise offered in the UK, originated out of the Far East, with one trader based in Hong Kong, responsible for more than one in ten (11%) of all products offered.

Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames commented, “The peak in demand for the latest sold out toys in the run up to Christmas presents the perfect opportunity for counterfeiters offering potentially lethal copies. Consumers need to be aware of this to ensure that they get the genuine product from official retailers and major brands must also be aware of these online auctions to protect the consumers that think they are buying the real McCoy. This is crucial for companies to maintain the trust in their brand, as the influx of counterfeit products could have a profound impact on brand reputation.”

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