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If it's too good to be true...

Counterfeit goods are bad and can also be unsafe, don't put your money or safety on the line

1 February 2023

Online shopping can be a great way to grab a bargain.

However, savvy online buyers now realise that seemingly good deals can come with some hidden strings.

That old thing your mum used to say is still very relevant – “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

This Stuff article from back in the day, is as relevant now as it was then. A young Wellington family were looking into purchasing a baby carrier, and had heard that Ergobaby were the best.

A quick Google search led them to, a seemingly legitimate website selling Ergo baby products at a good discount.

However when the product turned up, some quick research revealed it to be a counterfeit.

We hate that.

Unfortunately, counterfeit websites set up to scam unsuspecting buyers are nothing new.

Big brands like Nike and GHD are in consistent negotiations with overseas ISP’s to have scam websites removed. So, it pays to do your research.

Firstly, always try to find the official website. If you know that legitimate GHDs are sold at, the odds of them also selling at are not high.

Another easy way to spot what could be a fake website is by looking at the discounts.

A website we came across offers a whole range of allegedly genuine hair straighteners at around 50% less than their retail value. Seems too good to be true??

Also, you can check out the range of products offered, and see if it’s likely that those brands would all be sold together.

Offers of Louis Vuitton totes, alongside Nike high heels and Bose headphones should raise suspicions. Louis Vuitton has pretty strict distribution channels, so the likelihood of the French luxury brand wholesaling on a website like this is slim.

Counterfeit websites can be an easy way for someone to make a quick buck off unsuspecting buyers.

It’s often hard to tell who you’re really buying from, so the chances of you recovering your hard-earned money are not high.

Also, re-selling the products you’ve bought is a breach of the Copyright Act, and can land you in hot water. So remember, when buying online it pays to do your research.

At Trade Me we do a huge amount of work behind the scenes to ensure the site is free from counterfeits, this includes asking members to provide proof that products they are selling are genuine and working with brands to identify potential infringements.

Read more about intellectual property rights on our help page.