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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