German customs confiscate tens of thousands of fake electronics

© Andreas Scholz / Fotolia.
In one of the largest single finds of electronic counterfeits in Germany, the customs investigation office in Frankfurt am Main has now seized 18 pallets of illegal goods. The counterfeits are violating trademark and design rights as well as product safety law.

A total of around 60,000 counterfeit items was discovered by customs officials on the premises of a Frankfurt-based company. The seized counterfeits mainly included accessories for smart phones such as headphones, cases, batteries, and memory cards. In addition, the officials confiscated fake controllers for game consoles, cables and electrical charger plugs/connector sets, as well as numerous MP3 players.

“This is one of the largest single seizures of counterfeit products in the mobile phone accessories sector in Germany,” explains Hans-Jürgen Schmidt, spokesperson for the customs investigations office in Frankfurt am Main. According to the current assessment of the authorities, the fake products mainly came from China.

The Frankfurt-based company is said to have sold the illicit electronics primarily via the Internet. Customers included end users as well as other resellers. As a result, the brand holders incurred considerable economic damage from sales lost to the perpetrators; in addition, customs officials also fear that the brand holders’ reputation was tainted due to the low-quality counterfeits. Maybe even worse, the officials also established that the fake goods infringed the product safety law. “[The counterfeits] in particular do not meet the safety standards required for electronic products and thus pose a risk to consumers,” says Schmidt.

The counterfeiters used fake quality control labels to mislead customers and hide the inferior quality of their products. For example, the fake memory cards were useless and prone to lead to data loss. There is even a considerable health risk posed by the seized battery packs, as they may secrete dangerous substances or explode when used.

After confiscating the counterfeit merchandise, the authorities are now investigating the 35-year-old shareholder of the company as well as its 27-year-old managing director.

© Zollfahndungsamt Frankfurt am Main


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