Investigative

Fakin' It?: What Are You Really Buying When You Opt for Bargain Goods?


Shoppers are on the hunt for bargains this holiday season, but buyers beware.  Inside Edition found great prices on many items around the country. But in some cases, we found those deals were too good to be true.

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At a neighborhood festival in Utah, Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero found high-end sunglasses that looked like pairs made by Oakley or Ray-Ban, which sell for $150. But these were being sold for $30.

Guerrero showed Kevin Pepper, an undercover agent for the Utah Attorney General's Counterfeit Task Force, three pairs of sunglasses she bought from the vendor.

"The quality of these glasses - you're going to wear them for a week and they'll be busted, if they even last that long," he said. "I’ve determined they are all fake.”

Later, the task force raided the seller’s house and they say they found full boxes of counterfeit sunglasses among other items.

“We found sunglasses, shoes, makeup, eyelashes - all of which are counterfeit items,” Pepper said. They charged her with three felonies for selling and marketing counterfeit merchandise.

At the Aqueduck Flea Market in Brooklyn, New York, Guerrero purchased $30 "Michael Kors" bags and $20 "Gucci" bags, as well as someone selling UGG boots for $45.

Guerrero purchased one of the “Michael Kors” bags and three pairs of UGGs.

Private investigator Bill Ryan said everything Guerrero purchased was phony.

"You see the name plate Michael Kors... but actually it pops right off," he said as the logo on the bag fell off with ease.

Guerrero returned to the vendors to try and get answers.

“Are these real UGG boots?" she asked. "I bought some boots from you earlier today. These are the UGG boots you sold me earlier. But they're not real UGG boots, are they?”

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Once the vendors saw the Inside Edition cameras, they took off, leaving their booth empty.

The flea market manager told Inside Edition personnel they would have to leave the premises and when Guerrero asked if he knew that alleged fake products were being sold by some vendors, he replied: “I didn’t know that.”

The people at Deckers Outdoor, which manufactures UGG boots, agreed to compare the real thing to the alleged counterfeit boots we purchased and told Inside Edition they found multiple key differences. They said the stitching was cheap, the material was a foam substitute and the lining was comprised of two layers that they say will come apart after minimal wear.


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