Fake Online Sports Products: Not cricket, say dealers

Published on February 1, 2019 by

Manufacturers and dealers say that counterfeit sports goods sold on e-commerce platforms
like Flipkart and Amazon are resulting in losses to them.

Sale of fake sports products across e-commerce sites like Flipkart, Amazon, and Shopclues is
becoming a major thorn in the side for sports goods dealers and manufacturers in Bengaluru
Sports goods dealers like Olympics Sporting Company and Planet Sporting Company have
complained to Karnataka Sports Dealers association about these products which, they say,
have resulted in a business loss of 40 percent in the last year for them.
Mr Nitin Kumar, owner of Olympics Sporting Company said, “A lot of fake products of
famous sports brands like Nike, Yonex, Nivia, DSC are being sold on online websites like
Amazon, Flipkart etc. These websites offer huge discounts which lure customers. But these
products do not last long. Initially, we were surprised to see discounted rates of certain
products because selling price of some of those were far less than their purchase price.
However, when we checked with manufacturers if the seller was their client, they denied it.

“Later, when investigated by the manufacturing company, it was found all those products
were fake and suspected dealers were using their brand name to sell products. The authenticity
of products is never checked by these websites considering the huge business they have.
Customers easily get lured by heavy discounts and purchase product with any brand’s logo.
But online business has affected our business by a huge extent. We have lost our customer
base and incurred losses of approximately 35 to 40 percent in the last year.”

Mr Sandeep Kumar, Marketing Head of DSC Deluxe Co. told city cast, “We caught S.K. Sports
from Meerut recently who were selling cricket bats on our name. We sent them a complaint
letter and asked for a compensation of Rs. 20 lakhs for our business loss. These fake
products have incurred us approx. 20 percent business in last one year. And it is tarnishing
our image in the market as well.

“We have sent complaints to Flipkart and Amazon about the same multiple times but they
haven’t replied. Our association is planning to take legal actions against these websites to
save our business.”

Customers also find it difficult to differentiate between the original and the fake products as
the product picture shown on these websites resembles the original product.
Sudhir Sharma, a resident of Gandhi Nagar said, “I saw a pair of Reebok shoes on Planet
Sports Company pricing Rs. 6600. The same shoes were also available on Flipkart Rs. 4220
which I bought. But they could not last long and ripped off within two months. As there was
no warranty on shoes, I could not complain to anyone as well.

“Now, I am buying the same product from this shop for Rs. 6600. Here, I will at least get
some warranty and can question these people in case of any issue in future. You cannot
trust online website because they don’t take any responsibility, once the product reaches to
the customer,” he added.

Dealers Association along with manufacturers is also trying many new things to teach
customers to identify original products.

Mr. Prassana, secretary, All India Sports Goods Association said, “It is always difficult for
customers to identify the originality of product as online fake products look similar to
original one. But we have also come with a few changes to our products which will help
customers to identify the real one. We have come up with a QR code system on these
products. Customer has to scan it on their phones whenever they buy it and check the
model number on the product website.

“If the product is original, its model number will automatically appear on the company’s website.
We are also distributing pamphlets with this kind of information to our customers to check
the authenticity of products,” he concluded.

The government has also admitted that there is an increase in these kinds of frauds in the
last year and is planning to take action against the culprits.

Mr. Ashraf Hasan, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said,
“Government is strongly against all those who infringe copyright and sell fake products. We
have received many complaints in the past and we are shortly coming up with a law to take
strict actions against the culprits.”

Fake products are not easy to identify and this practice has been prevalent in e-commerce
the market for a longer time.

UK Gupta, President of Authentication Solution Providers' Association (ASPA) told City Cast
that companies should have checks in place to monitor such products. " The e-commerce
the market offers huge opportunities for Indian businesses given it are a faster, more efficient
way of accessing global markets and consumers. However, this fast moving industry is also
going through piracy issues as thousands of counterfeit goods are listed every day. Fake
manufacturers and bogus sellers are using loopholes in Information Technology Act to their
favour and making unaccounted money from the same.

“E-commerce market places should have a no-fake policy to address the sale of counterfeit and
spurious products on their platforms. The e-commerce market places need to put in place
processes to ensure quality goods and monitor those sites selling fake products. Consumer
have all the right to know and identify the product authenticity and the products he had
received reaches to him without any tampering. E-commerce companies are following many
anti-counterfeiting technologies for other global market to fight against FAKE, similar
options need to be opted for Indian Market as well," he concluded.


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