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People warned of risks of buying fake designer goods following candle explosion

Shoppers and businesses in Staffordshire are being reminded about the risks of buying fake designer candles in the run up to Christmas.

The warning from the County Council’s Trading Standards service follows a complaint from a Hednesford woman about a scented candle sold in a Staffordshire market which exploded, producing dangerous shards of glass fragments.

Tony Shore, Trading Standards Manager at Staffordshire County Council said: “We always see an increase in the number of fake and counterfeit goods on the streets in the run up to Christmas and we’re urging people to be aware when buying such items, especially online and at car boot sales. People should also be particularly wary of goods being offered for sale on social media networks as quite often these are counterfeit goods which are potentially dangerous and of poor quality.

“In the case of fake designer candles, not only are you not getting the quality you’re paying for and the nice scent but they could be a real fire risk. As always, the best advice is to buy from a reputable retailer or the company directly, and to check the item carefully to ensure it is exactly what you were expecting.”

To avoid counterfeit goods, they are telling consumers to look out for the "3 P's”:

  • PRICE: If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • PACKAGING: If the product is being sold without its packaging, or the packaging appears to be of low quality, or includes printing errors (for example, blurry pictures, typos, spelling or grammatical errors) it is probably counterfeit.
  • PLACE: Consider where the product is being sold. If it’s in-store, ask yourself if you would normally expect to find the product sold in this type of environment. Deal only with legitimate, established retailers. If buying online, counterfeiters often steal pictures and formatting from the real websites to make their websites look legitimate, so don't be fooled by a professional-looking website. If you find typos, grammatical and spelling errors, or incomplete information, then the site is probably fake.

Tony added: “Scented candles mightn’t be the first thing that springs to mind when talking about counterfeit goods, but as they can be quite expensive, they present an opportunity for the forger.

"As the old wise words say, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. But be aware sometimes the fakes are priced deliberately high to make people think they are the real deal, so be aware.”

People can report counterfeit goods sales on the anonymous Staffordshire Fight the Fakes line on 01785 330356.

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