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New Council initiative to curb the sale of fake goods within local social media groups

Published: 09/11/2018

Flintshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service is launching a new initiative to protect local consumers and small businesses from the harm caused by the growing trade in fake goods on local social media buying-and-selling groups.

The Council has adopted the Real Deal Online programme, a national initiative that makes sure social media buying-and-selling groups are not promoting the sale of counterfeit goods and other illicit products, and encourages closer working relationships between the groups and their local Trading Standards service.

During the run up to Christmas Trading Standards Officers will be identifying all buying-and-selling groups in the Flintshire area that are operating on social media. They will the contact the administrators of the groups to make them aware of their legal responsibilities and to invite them to follow the Real Deal Online Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice requires group administrators to welcome Trading Standards Officers as members of the group and to agree to five simple steps:

1. To prohibit the sale of counterfeit or illicit goods;

2. To act on information from Intellectual Property right owners and their representatives who highlight the sale of illegal goods;

3. To notify Trading Standards if they believe that illegal goods are being sold within the group and to exclude the sellers of these goods;

4. To highlight warnings and advice notices posted by Trading Standards;

5. To make sure that all members of the group are aware of its fake-free policy.

Selling groups that agree to follow the Real Deal Code of Practice, will be allowed to display the Real Deal logo™ which will act as a visual assurance to shoppers and to traders that it is a fake-free shopping zone.

Councillor Chris Bithell, Flintshire’s Cabinet member for Planning, Environment and Economy, said “This is an important initiative, it provides people with the reassurance that they will not be buying counterfeit goods many of which are unsafe.  If anyone believes there is someone supplying counterfeit goods they should report the details to the Trading Standards service.”

The new initiative is a natural extension of the Real Deal campaign which has been in place at physical markets and car boot fairs for nearly ten years and which has been seen around 500 across the UK sign up to the voluntary Real Deal Charter to prevent the sale of fake goods. 

Flintshire County Council introduced the Real Deal Charter at local markets and car boot fairs and Trading Standards have been so pleased with the impact it has had in reducing the number of counterfeit items on sale that they have decided to extend it into the social media arena.

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