Should You Expect a Cyber Monday Refund?

Nov 27, 2012

Employees pack items to be shipped from the Amazon.com Inc. distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Shoppers looking to avoid crushing crowds and early wakeup calls took to the Internet for yesterday's Cyber Monday deals, to the tune of $1.5 billion. The 20 percent increase over last year's spending made Monday the biggest online shopping day on record. 

But mixed in with the deals were the steals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized 101 domain names proffering counterfeit goods. An additional 31 sites were taken down by European authorities. "Everything from Ergobaby carriers to New Era hats, Nike sneakers, Tiffany jewelry, Oakley sunglasses and NFL jerseys, just to name a few. Even counterfeit Adobe software was for sale," ICE Director John Morton told reporters on a conference call.

ICE is working with PayPal to seize funds connected to the shut down websites. ABC News reports that accounts in excess of $175,000 have been targeted. But the real cost of counterfeits is far greater than can be captured in a single day. “When IP rights are violated, jobs are lost, businesses are stolen and ultimately consumers are cheated. Remember, counterfeiters care about making money and only about making money. They don’t pay health care. They don’t pay pensions. They don’t pay taxes. They don’t care about the people that work for them and they don’t, frankly, care about the consumers who purchase the products,” Morton said.

The Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) reinforced the consequences of counterfeits, and also shared that there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves:

While law enforcement is working diligently to protect consumers and legitimate online businesses, we as individuals also must take proactive steps to not fall victim to online criminals. This includes insisting on secure transactions, scrutinizing foreign sellers and sellers that omit sales taxes, and saying no to “deals” that are too good to be true (because, yes, they probably are!).

Check out GIPC's 10 tips for protecting consumers against fakes and be ready for Cyber Monday and every day in between. 

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