How Are People Punished For Selling And Buying Counterfeit Goods In Different Countries?

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How Are People Punished For Selling And Buying Counterfeit Goods In Different Countries?
How Are People Punished For Selling And Buying Counterfeit Goods In Different Countries?

Video: How Are People Punished For Selling And Buying Counterfeit Goods In Different Countries?

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Video: Why Amazon Has So Many Counterfeit Goods 2023, January
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To jail for a bag

In December 2020, Alina Lavrentieva-Pak, the daughter of Oksana Lavrentieva, the owner of the Rusmod company, told on Instagram that the Birkin bag of the French fashion house Hermès, which her mother had once inherited and of which she was sure, was a fake. This was revealed when Lavrentieva-Pak brought the bag to the official service of the Parisian boutique of the brand due to problems with the handle, from where she was later called with a request to "come and investigate."

“I know how France understands in such cases. If I went there, they would have called the police, and you can easily go to jail for a fake bag here,”the girl wrote in a post that received almost 12 thousand likes and more than 1,000 comments.

These words are confirmed by Daria Tarnopolskaya, co-founder of the consulting project Easy France Pass and tax specialist in France: “Here, ignorance of the laws really does not excuse one from responsibility. Anyone who uses a fake runs the risk of a fine of up to € 300,000 and a criminal sentence of imprisonment for up to three years. Of course, if you get caught with a fake bag on the street, then the risks are not so great. Although even here you may be forced to pay a fine equal to one or two of the cost of the original."

Most often, counterfeits are detected upon arrival in France: at train stations, ports or airports. The French authorities strictly respect the rights of brands, so when preparing to cross the border, you should carefully evaluate your luggage and carry-on luggage. Attention is paid not only to exclusive luxury items. Games, appliances, medicines and even food - counterfeit can be found in any category of goods. It is identified for several reasons: for example, a suspicious place of production, a label with misspellings and poor quality compared to brand standards (imperfect seams, finishes, patterns, accessories and fabrics).

Customs and border control officers inspect boxes of suspicious goods
Customs and border control officers inspect boxes of suspicious goods

Customs and Border Protection officers inspect boxes of suspicious goods

© Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register via Getty Images

Sometimes it is impossible to recognize a fake with the naked eye. High-quality counterfeit products are of particular concern to brands, because they are the main competition for their products and mislead the target audience. Such cases are disclosed not so much at border crossing points as in official repair services with a detailed analysis of things. You can take a chance and start a trial and a dispute. However, if several people are involved in the history of the bag (for example, in the bulk purchases of counterfeit goods), then this can be interpreted as “actions of an organized gang”, which increases the maximum punishment to € 750,000 in a fine and seven years in prison. In addition, the brand may issue additional claims. Although such measures usually apply only to large importers of fakes.

For example, in September 2020, a trial of former employees of the Hermès fashion house, accused of producing and selling counterfeit Birkin bags to Asian customers, ended in Paris. The investigation found that they were developing a counterfeit, ordering crocodile leather from an Italian supplier and using zippers and other accessories illegally taken from the workshops of the French brand. The gang sold counterfeit goods for € 20-30 thousand, earning about € 2 million annually. Each of the ten participants in the operation was sentenced to a suspended sentence of six months to three years. Some also received fines of € 100-200 thousand.

Meg Randall, Head of Handbags at Bonhams, shows off Hermès Birkin crocodile leather bag
Meg Randall, Head of Handbags at Bonhams, shows off Hermès Birkin crocodile leather bag

Meg Randall, Head of Handbags at Bonhams, shows off the crocodile leather Hermès Birkin bag

© Yui Mok / PA Images via Getty Images

According to the French customs department, 5.4 million various counterfeit goods were seized in the country in 2018, and 4.5 million in 2019.It is not yet possible to estimate the number of counterfeits in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a lockdown and border closure. However, there is no doubt that the counterfeit turnover has increased due to the growth of purchases via the Internet. By the way, if the relevant services suspect a fake when delivering an online order from abroad to France, then they can open the parcel, confiscate the goods and impose a fine.

For representatives of the law and order, there is no excuse that counterfeit could be received as a gift. You can try to convince the police of your good faith and thereby avoid a large fine, but the thing will still have to be sent for liquidation. It is uncritical if it was bought at the lowest price, but it’s unpleasant if the owner believed the dealers and bought a fake at the original price.

Tourists look at fake Tous and Michael Kors bags
Tourists look at fake Tous and Michael Kors bags

Tourists looking at fake Tous and Michael Kors bags © Horacio Villalobos - Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

A gift with consequences

Gifts in the form of real branded items in France also do not go unnoticed: you will have to pay tax for them. An unpleasant fate can be avoided only when the value of the gift is insignificant in comparison with the financial level of the donor, and the reason is associated with a specific event - be it a wedding, birthday or Christmas. Another important factor is the relationship between the donor and the recipient. When calculating the tax, the degree of their relationship, the frequency of gifts and other nuances are determined.

“Within 15 years from the date of the presentation of the first declared gift, the gifts of the parent to the child are not taxed within the total value of € 100 thousand. If 15 years have not passed yet, and the total value of the gifts has already exceeded € 100 thousand, then from all, which is higher than this amount, the parent is obliged to pay tax at a rate of 5–45%. The rate varies according to a progressive scale: the higher the amount of the gift, the higher the tax. Also, the rate may depend on the presence and degree of relationship between the donor and the recipient, - explains Daria Tarnopolskaya. - In order to avoid gift tax, many involve relatives. A child can receive gifts totaling up to € 200,000 from both parents and up to € 127,460 from four grandparents every 15 years. However, this scheme does not apply to gifts outside the family, and also has its pitfalls.If there are several children in the family, serious conflicts can arise between them (up to legal proceedings), if one child was spoiled by gifts more than others. After the death of the parents, the amount of gifts received by the pet can be counted as an advance towards his inheritance at the request of the deprived. That is, the total value of the gifts will be deducted from the inherited money. In addition, such an advance may affect the inheritance rights of the child with the parents still living. Children in France have a so-called inheritance reserve - a part of the property that parents are not entitled to dispose of. If the latter plan to transfer some property outside the family, the reserve may be reduced due to the amount of gifts from the child. "if one child was spoiled with gifts more than others. After the death of the parents, the amount of gifts received by the pet can be counted as an advance towards his inheritance at the request of the deprived. That is, the total value of the gifts will be deducted from the inherited money. In addition, such an advance may affect the inheritance rights of the child with the parents still living. Children in France have a so-called inheritance reserve - a part of the property that parents are not entitled to dispose of. If the latter plan to transfer some property outside the family, the reserve may be reduced due to the amount of gifts from the child. "if one child was spoiled with gifts more than others. After the death of the parents, the amount of gifts received by the pet can be counted as an advance towards his inheritance at the request of the deprived. That is, the total value of the gifts will be deducted from the inherited money. In addition, such an advance may affect the inheritance rights of the child with the parents still living. Children in France have a so-called inheritance reserve - a part of the property that parents are not entitled to dispose of. If the latter plan to transfer some property outside the family, the reserve may be reduced due to the amount of gifts from the child. "In addition, such an advance may affect the inheritance rights of the child with the parents still living. Children in France have a so-called inheritance reserve - a part of the property that parents are not entitled to dispose of. If the latter plan to transfer some property outside the family, the reserve may be reduced due to the amount of gifts from the child. "In addition, such an advance may affect the inheritance rights of the child with the parents still living. Children in France have a so-called inheritance reserve - a part of the property that parents are not entitled to dispose of. If the latter plan to transfer some property outside the family, the reserve may be reduced by the amount of gifts from the child."

If there are no family ties between the parties, then the French authorities may regard the present ambiguously. A revenge made to a business partner could lead to bribery charges under the 2016 Sapin II Transparency, Anti-Corruption and Economic Modernization Act. In order to avoid unnecessary suspicion, experts recommend planning all gifts for the end of the year - a period of mutual exchange of material confessions. But do not be surprised if French friends, wishing you a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, ask you to declare a present and send them confirmation.

Dior New Yeart Bag
Dior New Yeart Bag

Dior New Years Gift Bag © Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Yes, it is necessary to declare gifts of French and foreign origin both when at least one of the donor pair - the recipient is a resident of France, and when both are abroad, but at the time of the gift the recipient has lived in France for at least six of the last ten years. It is not recommended to hide the fact of donation: in the future, this will help avoid claims about the origin of funds from the recipient, especially if the gift was presented in cash. In addition, the gift recorded in the declaration will become a confirmation of ownership of the valuable thing in case of divorce.

Some categories of goods are declared in a special order. The cost of jewelry and works of art is set at a minimum amount of 60% of the insured amount, from which the amount of tax is further calculated. Securities are taxed in accordance with the last known price on the exchange. And the tax on personal belongings depends on the age of the new owner. Therefore, an exclusive gift in France, instead of joy, can bring a headache from declaring and fears of forgery and a possible large fine. Perhaps that is why it is believed that the French do not have such a broad soul as the Russians?

And what about other countries?

“The issues of using fakes and expensive gifts are most scrupulous in countries where strong brands with a history are developed,” says Daria Tarnopolskaya. - In Italy, as in France, the buyer of counterfeit products - it doesn't matter if it is a citizen of the country or a tourist - can receive an administrative penalty in the form of a fine of several thousand euros. Where the institution of intellectual property is just developing, such violations are treated more easily."

For example, in the UK, counterfeit manufacturers and sellers are punished, but not buyers. They are asked to monitor the quality of the purchased products and not to forget that buying fakes harms the business of original brands, taking away the livelihood of their employees, and also reduces the amount of money entering the country's economy.

Selling fake Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags
Selling fake Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags

A similar situation is developing in the USA, where fake branded items are especially popular. The shopper of a Prada-style bag is most often classified as a victim of a scam. However, if he knew that he had bought a fake product and wanted to resell it, he could be accused of selling counterfeit goods. The same suspicions may arise when crossing the border if customs officers find a fake in the luggage. In addition, the American authorities believe that the proceeds from the sale of counterfeit items may go to finance terrorist groups or indicate illegal money laundering, which gives rise to more serious proceedings.

In Russia, citizens not only fearlessly go out into the streets with fake bags, but also proudly tell the media about it, calling the replica one of the forms of individual expression. Only manufacturers and sellers of counterfeit goods can be brought to justice: they are subject to article 180 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Illegal use of means of individualizing goods" with a maximum penalty of a fine of up to 1 million rubles. or imprisonment for up to six years.

Usually violators of the law are identified through a test purchase. That is how in 2018, in one of the shops of the Funny Prices chain in Moscow, it was possible to find fake adidas sneakers and Dior T-shirts, for which in the summer of 2020 the owner received a fine of 110 thousand rubles. and a criminal sentence. Dior representatives filed a separate claim for damages, which was approved by a Russian court in December. He ordered the counterfeit sellers to pay an additional amount of 439,500 rubles, equal to the cost of ten original T-shirts of the French brand.

There is also a gift tax in Russia, although not everyone knows about it. The gifted person is obliged to pay 13% of the present amount to the Federal Tax Service if it was presented not by a close relative, but, for example, by a friend, fiancée, uncle or nephew, and falls into a certain category: real estate, vehicle, shares, shares and shares. You should also be careful with gifts received from legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. Corporate presents are not taxed only if their total cost does not exceed RUB 4,000.>

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