As with many places around the world, Italy is no different in terms of having those who will take advantage of tourists or uninformed shoppers.
The economic crisis has been generating discontent among all social categories, especially the state employed, creating a vicious circle of frustration, inhibition and depression over a possible economic recovery. Italy has always had an incoherent and lax approach to counterfeiting especially the sale of counterfeit luxury branded goods even before the European debt crisis, major cities being flooded by tons of fake bags being sold on the street, in many cases in front or within a few meters from the luxury stores.
Nowadays, the sale of luxury branded counterfeit sales is rife not only Florence, Venice and Milan but also in the upscale summer holiday destinations such as Portofino or Forte dei Marmi. The main shopping streets of these smaller towns are invaded by counterfeit salesmen, displaying Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Fendi fake bags right on the pavement, without any reserve.
While police in Italy have made major seizures of counterfeit goods over the past couple of years, that hasn’t stopped the counterfeiters from expanding their business.
While it may seem hard to spot fakes from the read deal…our number one suggestion is to use basic common sense. Do not purchase what appears to be a name brand luxury product from a street vendor. Only buy from reputable retail establishments or the individual luxury brands brick & mortar or online storefront.
Do not support these impostors and throw away your money on a low quality knock-off handbag…or any fake good for that matter. By doing so, you are likely supporting criminals with ties to larger criminal organizations that are often involved beyond just producing and moving counterfeit goods. Many also trafficking drugs, firearms and people.
There is an endless chain of negative effects from purchasing counterfeit goods. Do your small part in putting these criminals out of business while helping to improve Italy’s economy – purchase only true Made in Italy products. It will take a little more knowledge, and cost you a little more money, but the benefits of doing so will be many.