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Brand: original or fake?

Brand: original or fake?
Experts say that consumers should be careful and require a certificate of the product they purchase

"...Investigation revealed that poor quality clothing made in the People's Republic of China, exhibited in 12 stores, was stitched in the underground shops of Lady Sharm”

Perhaps, everyone have read these news headlines. According to the news that have captured the agenda for the last few days, it becomes clear that poor quality clothing was exhibited in 12 stores of Lady Sharm with labels from well-known brands like Chanel, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Chiristian Dior, İtterre, and others. These clothes with fake labels were sold to customers for a price many times higher than the real value. An underground sewing workshop and a warehouse of the "Lady Sharm"network of stores were discovered. During the examination, a large number of counterfeit clothes, trademarks of clothing brands from Turkey, Italy and other European countries, as well as special devices for making those trademarks were seized and confiscated. Moreover, it was revealed that local products were made in the workshop of Lady Sharm with "Made in Turkey" and "Made in Italy" labels.


The accident can be viewed from several aspects. But the most important is the violation of consumer rights. The so-called "brand" has long been used to deceive the buyers. This is a violation of people's rights both physically and morally.


There are also similar cases in other parts of the market


Therefore, we learned the opinion of Chairman of the Free Consumers Union Eyyub Huseynov on the issue. He said that for a long time there were complaints about the brand. "The Free Consumers Union has long received both written and telephone complaints regarding Lady Sharm. We are trying to solve 80% of complaints through negotiations. That is, we convey the consumer’s complaints to the producer. Complaints were different. Some were dissatisfied with the products’ color, sewing, design, and quality. Unfortunately, we were not able to protect the consumer rights through negotiations. We sent such complaints to the State Service for Antimonopoly Policy and Consumer Protection under the Economy Ministry. They directed the consumers to the court. That is, there was wrong situation with the issue, and no way out. I appreciate the work done by the Interior Ministry. Unfortunately, there are similar cases in other parts of the market. I think cleaning work should be carried out in other areas as well. At present, many products are produced in our country and sold under the brand name. The sale of counterfeit goods is carried out in two ways. They either produce in Azerbaijan with fake labels or bring products from China, Turkey and label them here. At present, it is possible to find fake goods even in the most expensive brand store," said the chairman.


Huseynov noted that according to the law on protection of consumer rights, buyers have aright to require a certificate of the product they purchase. If the producer do not provide a certificate, consumers should refuse to buy.


Producer should monitor the market

Director of Comunical company, marketing communications specialist Tural Abbasli said that consumers are powerless in such situation. "Unfortunately, buyers can do nothing to prevent fraud. When faced with fraud and deception, they may only apply to the producer with a complaint. The other side of the issue is interesting. At this point, marketing communication is on the foreground. Each brand must establish its own healthy marketing communications. Brands should communicate with consumers. This communication can be virtual or real,” said the expert.


The director also responded to our question, "What should a producer do to prevent products counterfeiting?". "First of all, every producer should constantly monitor the market. This is a nuance that can not be ignored as there are risks, crises and their management in business. Some nuances can be detected as a result of monitoring and preventive measures are taken. That is, the producer must come to Azerbaijan and carry out an investigation. If it reveals that the counterfeit goods are sold on the behalf of producer, then he should clarify the matter legally. He must prove that he has not exported this product to our country as a producer,” he said.


Identification code

Abbasli noted that the main issue in this case is the establishment of contacts with the consumer. The fact that the consumer can distinguish between counterfeit goods and the original depends on the communication platform given to him. "Moreover, the brand abroad must communicate directly with the Azerbaijani consumer in various ways. Also, specific identification coding of products should be carried out. After implementing this coding, it is possible to verify that the product is original with the communication device. That is, consumers will be able to access all the information associated with the product using this code. From this point of view, I think that the gap is directly related to companies with brand responsibility. In current case, the brand has deceived its consumers by taking illegal step. In addition to damaging the Lady Sharm brand, it also damaged the image of other brands. In such cases, those brands have the right to claim their damages," he added.


Require a certificate of authenticity

According to head of Fox Digital Agency, marketingspecialist Seymur Guliyev, customers should be careful in such cases. "There is no concept of counterfeit goods, but fake brand. Consumers should require a certificate of authenticity of the brand, or to review the hologram on the product when buying it. Brand products are more expensive. Every buyer should be careful."


Restoration of the damaged image

The other side of the issue is the tainted brand's reputation. So, how can a brand protect its reputation or restore its damaged image?


The marketingspecialist noted that by taking such step, not only does any brand infringe on consumer rights, but also damages its image. "There are two ways to restore a damaged image. First, the store should carry out strong PR work without changing its name. The second way is rebranding, that is to change the name, design, and slogan of the brand.


A short way to get rich, fraud


Head of Markaman company Rashad Bakhishov said that the brand should pay special attention to customer satisfaction in order to maintain the image of the brand. "A "brand" means to create a difference, but in a good sense. In fact, a customer and a producer behavior have changed in the market. It is almost a very difficult matter for a client to distinguish between originals and counterfeit products. But it does not mean that you can sell counterfeit goods. Each brand should treat its products and consumers with respect. A brand is difference, attention and, most importantly, quality. A company that produces any goods, wants to be branded, or already branded should pay attention to every nuance. Special attention must be paid to every step from packaging to design, delivery, presentation. Anyone who wants to create a brand or maintain a brand, does not think about a short way to get rich or fraud. The quality of the product should be at a high level. Customer satisfaction is very important in these cases," Bakhishov noted.


Gunel Azade






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