Just in Time for Christmas: Customs Seizes $30 Million in Fake Purses from China

 

LOS ANGELES — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers assigned to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport in coordination with Import Specialists from the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising (CPMM) Center of Excellence and Expertise intercepted 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving in a containerized cargo shipment from China.

CBP officers discovered handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks, such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL and Louis Vuitton.

CBP officers, in cooperation with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agents seized the shipment on November 9, 2021. If genuine, the seized merchandise would have a combined estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,437,775.

Customs Seizes Fake Purses from China (Contributed/CBP)

Customs Seizes Fake Purses from China (Contributed/CBP)

“CBP commits substantial law enforcement resources to keep counterfeit and pirated goods out of U.S. supply chains, markets, and streets,” said Carlos C. Martel, Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles. “Now more than ever, CBP officers remain vigilant, committed, and focused on disrupting these smuggling operations.”

Historically, counterfeit products have been sold on illegitimate websites and in underground outlets. The rise of e-commerce offers a haven for criminals who are now able to hide behind seemingly legitimate listings on well-known websites. The sale of counterfeit commodities multiplies the illegal profits of smugglers and traffickers who reinvest the proceeds from such sales into further criminal enterprises.

Customs Seizes Fake Designer Purses from China (Contributed/CBP)

Customs Seizes Fake Designer Purses from China (Contributed/CBP)

“Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and unsafe goods through online platforms, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals,” said Donald R. Kusser, Port Director of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport. “If the price of the product seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and can even be unsafe for you and your family.”

Consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods:

  • Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
  • When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.
  • Review CBP’s E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.
  • Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Counterfeit apparel, footwear, and handbags are often of inferior quality and may feature poor or uneven stitching, fragile fabrics, and improperly sized or designed logos. Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging are also signs that products may not be legitimate.

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation economy, the competitiveness of businesses, and, in some cases, national security and the health and safety of consumers. 

To deter the importation of illicit goods and protect U.S. consumers and businesses, CBP has developed a proactive, aggressive and dynamic enforcement approach to Intellectual Property Right (IPR) enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2020, CBP personnel nationwide seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods estimated to be worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.

For more information about the risks associated with purchasing counterfeit goods, visit CBP’s Fake Goods, Real Dangers website and read CBP’s e-Commerce Awareness Guide. Additional tips for protecting your family from counterfeit goods are available at StopFakes.gov. Right holders wishing to protect their brand from infringing imports should record their trademarks and copyrights with CBP at https://iprr.cbp.gov/

Suspected IPR violations, fraud, or illegal trade activity can be reported by contacting CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violations Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT. Violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at https://www.iprcenter.gov/referral/ or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.

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