Why Buying Fake Designer Bags in Italy is Dumb.

Posted: May 5 2014

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Who would travel to Italy the land of Gucci, Prada, Pucci and Giorgio Armani to buy a fake or counterfeit bag?  Plenty of people it seems.  Counterfeit goods have been around since Giorgio was a boy but in the past few years the Italian police have  tried to stamp it out once and for all – after all, it’s costing the Italian economy a fortune. You will be surprised who will pay the price of this crackdown – not the seller, but the unsuspecting buyer.   Buying that cute knockoff could have you arrested and fined – now wouldn’t that put a dampener on that holiday budget?

The person openly selling these goods on the streets of Rome, Venice and Florence will get away with it.  Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it? Or maybe it’s not as silly as it first seems.

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Firstly, it is quite obvious that the bag sellers are not from Italy but mostly economic refugees from northern Africa. The police know that even though they might be lucky enough to catch a vendor, the likelihood of fining them, and actually having them pay the fine, would be highly unlikely. So what to do?  Fine the buyer, and make it hurt.

Before this new approach came into play a few years ago, I spent a couple of amusing afternoons watching police try to sneak up on the bag sellers – a game of cat and mouse – and one which the bag sellers won every time. With the influx of economic refugees, Italy does not have the capacity to punish these illegal traders.  Even if they did manage to catch them, the prisons would be heaving and stressing an already highly challenged system and there would be others to quickly take their place on the streets.

If a tourist is caught in the act of purchasing a bag in the past, the fine was around 400 euro.  Today the fine can be as much as $1000! It’s not worth it, you could actually put that towards buying an authentic Gucci bag.

Tourists are totally unaware of this change in game plan and unless specifically told, don’t understand the repercussions of buying a counterfeit bag.

So tell everyone you know to save up for that designer bag, don’t spend your hard earned money on something that was produced unethically in a sweat shop, is sold on the streets by poor refugees and backed by criminal gangs.

We all know it’s tempting but don’t do it.

 

 

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