Global trade in counterfeit Mercedes-Benz products continues to grow, especially online.
As disclosed in a statement posted on the Mercedes-Benz global media website on Thursday, the automaker, in 2022, suffered a significant increase in counterfeiting activities on social media and online marketplaces.
It recalled that over 1.6 million products counterfeited as the luxury brand were seized in over 620 customs and law enforcement raids globally.
“Compared to the previous year,” it explained, “the number of removed online offers of counterfeit listings on relevant platforms rose by more than 23 percent to over 155,000 cases.
“The quality of counterfeit products is usually poor and does not meet the minimum legal requirements in terms of safety.”
Mercedes-Benz, therefore, described counterfeiting as a significant risk to the health and safety of road users.
“A global team at the Mercedes-Benz Intellectual Property Competence Centre,” it pointed out, “works closely with customs and law enforcement authorities around the world to put a stop to counterfeiters.”
According to Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG for Integrity, Governance & Sustainability, organized gangs of counterfeiters usually have their low-quality and often dangerous goods produced under inhumane conditions without regard for human rights, environmental standards and occupational health and safety.
“We are taking massive action against this,” he assured, adding, “This is because they harm not only consumers, but also local workers and society as a whole. Counterfeiters are very active and are constantly expanding their portfolio.
“In addition to the classic targets of product pirates, such as brake discs, wheels and body and steering parts, online platforms will also continue to be under the watchful eye of brand protectors at Mercedes-Benz. This is because counterfeit products can often hardly be visually distinguished from original parts. For the first time in 2022, the number of deleted listings of counterfeit offers on social media and online platforms rose significantly to over 155,000.
“The trade in counterfeit products via online platforms and social media has also increased sharply in the last year. Our brand protectors focus on safety-relevant counterfeits, because they endanger people. However, we are also keeping an eye on the counterfeiting industry’s growing business model for digital goods. In 2022, a total of more than 155,000 counterfeit product listings were removed from online platforms.”
Also commenting on the ugly development, Florian Adt, COO & General Counsel at Mercedes-Benz Intellectual Property GmbH & Co. KG, lamented that counterfeiting gangs take advantage of the high degree of anonymity and decentralised nature of online marketplaces and technologies, when trading counterfeit goods.
“For this reason,” he noted, “Mercedes-Benz is further expanding its strategic and operational measures against counterfeiting in online trade. The brand protection strategy comprises three pillars: detecting, attacking and preventing. For this reason, the brand protectors regularly offer training events and information material to raise awareness, for example for customs authorities or service providers.”
In order not to fall for counterfeiters, a few simple criteria help consumers when shopping. This starts with the careful examination of conspicuous offers in everyday (online) life. Typical alarm signals for counterfeit products are a significantly low price, abnormalities in product quality or sales via dubious online sources. In some cases, it is immediately apparent from the product images or the designations that they cannot be genuine, since Mercedes-Benz does not manufacture these products at all.
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