SA Rugby has warned parents and rugby supporters to be on the lookout for unscrupulous counterfeiters gearing up for the Christmas shopping rush.
SA Rugby’s agents confiscated R53-million’s worth of fake rugby clothing in 2008 but remain on guard for the scam artists who prey on unsuspecting rugby fans.
“If it is being sold at a traffic light or at a street corner you can be sure it’s fake,” said Andy Marinos, acting manager director of SA Rugby.
“It may be cheaper than in the stores but it is vastly inferior to the officially licensed jerseys and, frankly, isn’t even worth the cut price you’ll pay for it. We’re grateful that fans want to wear their team’s jersey but the irony is that by buying from the counterfeiters, they’re actually taking money out of the pockets of their province. Teams receive a licence fee for every official piece of merchandise that is sold – they obviously don’t get a cent from the fraudsters.”
Signet Licensing, SA Rugby’s licensing agents, worked closely with the South African Police Service, Customs and other organisations to seize a staggering 223 000 pieces of merchandise in 2008. Most of the product comes from the Far East and enters through the ports before being transported to back-street warehouses.
“Many members of the public are unaware that buying counterfeit product is a criminal activity resulting in the growth of organised crime networks and depriving the unions and the country of revenue and jobs,” said Alex Cotchobos, managing director of Signet Licensing.
“We have confiscated some major shipments and made several arrests this year but as long as the rugby supporter is happy to buy a cheap, fake jersey then the criminals will continue to provide a supply. “Our message is that true rugby fans should do themselves and their game a favour and not support crime.”
Cotchobos added that the presence of apparently genuine labelling confirming that the item was an officially licensed product should also be treated with caution as the counterfeiters also faked such devices.
“If it is cheap, if it feels cheap and if it looks cheap then it’s because it is a cheap imitation,” said Cotchobos. “It may be a tempting price but the only person winning in the transaction is some back-street criminal.”Tweet