The Underground Economy

By: Hazel Sanchez Email
By: Hazel Sanchez Email

The real deal costs a pretty penny. But, buying a fake could soon land people in a lot of trouble.

"I thought this country was a free country, you can do whatever you want, and I go to jail because I buy a fake bag? That's stupid,"says
Cintyha Tape, a person who buys knock offs.

"I think it's good. All those knockoffs are hurting the real brand," says James Mei, a retailer.

City Council member Margaret Chin is proposing a one-thousand dollar fine, and possibly a year in jail, for people who buy counterfeit trademark goods.

"If we start cutting the demand, ultimately we will cut the supply," says Councilwoman Margaret Chin, a Democrat in New York.

There's plenty of supply on Canal Street, in Chinatown, known as a hotbed for counterfeit trademark bags, like fake Gucci, Chanel and Coach.

One vendor tried to sell two undercover cameramen a fake Louis Vuitton bag out of a black plastic bag. This illegal underground business has cost new York City an estimated billion dollars a year in sales tax revenue.

"Police have already been cracking down on vendors who are selling fake goods, but many people wonder how the police will be able to enforce a law prohibiting people from buying those fake goods when most shoppers can't tell the difference between what is real and what is not," says Reporter Hazel Sanchez.

"I shopped and I bought several things, so how does a customer know unless he becomes an expert on all the models and labels of each company's handbag. I don't think that's possible."

"Sometimes people think they're buying the real deal, and it turns up to be a knockoff. What are you going to do in cases like that?" says Danielle James, a person who buys knock offs.

So, buyer beware. This good deal may turn out to be far from what you bargained for.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by mia Location: tallhassee fl, on May 5, 2011 at 09:39 PM
    " get real, all knock offs or not fake , their just cheaper."
  • by L Location: Talla on May 4, 2011 at 01:05 PM
    Just another way for the government to generate more money to put in their pocket!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on May 4, 2011 at 11:27 AM
    Everyone can not afford designer bags.
  • by John Location: Florida on May 4, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    So, how did these 'knockoffs' get so far into our country's commerce in the first place?!! THAT's where law enforcement should be focused. Of course, such an effort would expose Beltway and Wall Street corruption. It is so evident in our failed foreign trade & custom enforcement policies. "Buy American --and get a receipt" helps to solve this consumer greed and political 'pay-olla' problem.
  • by Anonymous on May 4, 2011 at 08:16 AM
    Who says the 'real' products are of any better quality? Most items for sale here now are made in Taiwan, VietNam, China, Mexico, India, Malaysia, but NOT here. Very typical for our pro-business government wanting to go after the consumer /purchaser for "not paying higher taxes" while at the same time the manufacturers are enjoying tax cuts.
  • by wendy Location: fl on May 4, 2011 at 08:06 AM
    american produts any other countrys produts. they are all made cheap and worthless.
  • by about time Location: tally on May 4, 2011 at 07:50 AM
    The woman they quoted should have used her future "right to remain silent".
    • reply
      by mia on May 5, 2011 at 09:40 PM in reply to about time
      "yeap!"
  • by COMMON SENSE on May 4, 2011 at 07:37 AM
    What's the difference between America and China?? The Chinese Govmnt don't lie to their citizens telling them that their free. And ours do. If I want to go buy a knock off coach wallet...so what who cares?!!! Why don't they create ways to get out of this deficit we're in.. instead of creating more red ink.
  • by DELUMP on May 4, 2011 at 06:47 AM
    POSSIBLY A $1,000 FINE AND/OR A YEAR IN JAIL FOR BUYING FAKE PURSE OR BELT OMG PLEASE BE FORREAL. IT MAY DOWNSIZE THE SALE FOR THE "REAL" BRAND MAKERS BUT BY SETTING THESE TYPE OF LAW PROBABLY WONT MAKE THEIR SALE GO UP. NO MANY PEOPLE HAVE HUNDREDS TO THROUGH AWAY ON A BAG.
  • by bogus fleas on May 4, 2011 at 06:12 AM
    a few years ago the sheriffs ran a bust at the flea market with a 35ft box truck. they ran off all the bootleg venders, mix tape copyright violators. time to make another sweep. hint hint.
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