As flea markets gain traction and become much more popular due to their lower than average prices, consumers must at the same time, beware of what they are buying. In a recent Trentonian article, Authorities crack down on flea market fakes, the general public was warned about the quality and safety of flea market products. Indeed, if the principle of caveat emptor (buyer beware) ever applied to he real world, now is that time. According to that same Trentonian article, flea markets offer what the business world calls ‘knockoffs’. Knockoffs are what the everyday person would call counterfeit items or goods.
Counterfeit goods, or knockoffs, are different from the cheaper imitation versions found at major retailers, like Wal-Mart or Target, in that those retailers sell items that follow Consumer Safety Product Commission guidelines.
These knockoffs present serious safety concerns to the general public. In this day and age, it becomes more and more important to be an informed consumer. Here are some tips as you embark on your future shopping journeys.
Investigate the Price
I’ll leave it to New Jersey’s finest, Lt. Mike McDonnell of the state police, when he said that “If the price is too good, you have to think about it… If you see it at a flea market and it’s half the price of normal, you have to think there’s something wrong”. Indeed, there is wisdom in the saying, if it seems too good to be true, then most likely it is. If you find yourself at a local flea market and the price of your Fendi or other designer brand name shades are priced ridiculously low, then I think your antenna should go up. Word to the wise: Be cautious of anything that sounds too good to be true.
Investigate the Product
I know this seems obvious to some, but it is still important nonetheless.Take a good look at where the product comes from. If you know your product and do your research as a consumer you should know where this product is made at. If it doesn’t match, clearly this product should not be coming home with you. For example, in the Trentonian article they mention a pair UGG boots that were found to be counterfeit because the label said the boots were made in China, when in reality UGG boots are not made there. So the mantra becomes, investigate, investigate, investigate.
Do your research/ homework
If you go online, some companies like Estee Lauder and UGG have listed authorized retailers on their websites. This can be a great resource when making your shopping decisions. Or perhaps you can ‘google’ the name of the flea market. There may be consumer reports about this establishment that provide feedback about their experience with this establishment. As with anything on the internet, however, please take this information with a grain of salt. Remember the idea is to be an educated consumer; it is not to simply accept everything you hear at face value.
Solicit feedback from your friends
Ask a friend if they have ever shopped at the establishment you plan on going to. If they have been there, the obvious question becomes: have you ever bought anything from this merchant before? If they say yes, then you ask them what their experience was like using the product they bought. The response you get can really aid you in making an informed decision. Indeed, your friends can be a great resource, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
For access to the Trentonian article, please click the link below: