Investing in our schools, Olympics, Protecting vulnerable children, Trading Standards

Blow the whistle on Olympic fakes

Olympic hopeful Alex Dowsett riding through the entrance to Hampton Court Palace to promote the Olympic time trial race that will take place in Surrey next year. It is one of the events that is free to watch and so does not require a ticket.

Detail:

School children are being asked to blow the whistle on fraudsters peddling fake goods in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as part of a sport-themed National Consumer Week (November 21 to 25).

Surrey County Council Trading Standards has sent teaching packs to Surrey secondary schools to help pupils identify counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, clothing and merchandise. The youngsters are being asked to report any fakes they find.

National Consumer Week is also highlighting the sale of fake tickets for sporting events. Surrey County Council Trading Standards has previously warned against unofficial websites selling London 2012 tickets illegally online*.

It was revealed people from Hindhead, Walton and Dorking bought Olympic tickets unofficially, with a combined value of almost £1,500. On realising their mistake they contacted the sellers but struggled or failed to get a full refund.

Quote 1

Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Fraudsters may see the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a golden opportunity to cash in but we’re determined to do everything we can to stop them ripping people off. Teaching school pupils how to spot fakes and the consequences of buying them will help.

“These are not victimless crimes. The sale of fake goods damages legitimate businesses in Surrey and doesn’t provide value for money for customers. For example, clothing will usually be made from cheap materials that will wear out long before the clothing of the brands they are imitating.”

Quote 2

Olympic gold medal winning javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson said: “It’s so important to make sure that the goods we buy online and elsewhere are the real deal. Buying counterfeit goods is like throwing your money down the drain and only serves to fund the illegal activities of the criminals behind the scams.

“It can also lead to huge disappointment in the case of fake tickets to events like the Olympics, or even injury if we buy sporting equipment that hasn’t gone through the correct quality procedures.”

Further information:

National Consumer Week’s theme for 2011 is called Good Sports Don’t Fake it. It is being run by the Trading Standards Institute with the support of trading standards services across the country. For more information visit www.tradingstandards.gov.uk

ENDS

For more information, journalists can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk

Notes to editors

* To find out more about the illegal sale of Olympic tickets in Surrey visit news.surreycc.gov.uk

To report the sale of fake items call Consumer Direct on 01622 626520.

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