According to Indian Daily, the Times of India, the Bengaluru police recently conducted a raid in the upmarket J.P. Nagar area of south Bengaluru in a shop selling counterfeit water purifiers and ancillary parts/ accessories1 . The raid resulted in the seizure of nineteen (19) kits comprising of parts such as an RO membrane, carbon filter, sediment filter, post carbon filter and UF membrane along with stickers bearing the logo of a prominent water purifier brand, namely KENT. According to the police officials involved in the raid, the fear of unsanitary drinking water among consumers coupled with high demand for replaceable water filters in the market, has contributed a great deal to the rise of counterfeit reverse osmosis (RO) filters which are essential to the proper functioning of a water purifier.
Counterfeits in the Market
A counterfeit product is one which is intended to deceive consumers into buying a fake or fraudulent product by affixing someone else's registered trademark or one that is deceptively similar to the said trademark on such product without authorization and in order to gain illegal profits by riding on the reputation and goodwill associated with the registered trademark. Understandably, brands that acquire sufficient popularity and repute in the market are the ones targeted by counterfeiters in order to boost sales of their inferior quality products. However, in such a scenario, counterfeit or fake water purifiers not only act as a threat to legitimate brand owners (who are likely to suffer a loss in revenue and reputation), but also pose a major risk to the health and safety of consumers.
How can a Consumer identify counterfeit water purifiers?
As reported, the police in the case they have asked consumers to exercise caution while purchasing such accessories relating to water purifiers and to be aware of the authenticity of the seller they are purchasing from. For instance, in case of water purifiers, it is always advisable to visit authorized dealers rather than an individual local shop. Furthermore, counterfeit water purifiers weigh lighter and consist of cheap quality materials2 .
Efforts by Brand Owners
In this regard, even brand owners, such as KENT have now taken initiative to end the menace of counterfeiting by enforcing their rights in their trademarks and conducting routine raids in order to bring the counterfeiters to justice3. Another preventive measure, initiated by water purifier brands such as Eureka Forbes and Bluestar, is issuing of advisories against counterfeiting to consumers that can educate them on possible counterfeiting in the market and also help them identify products associated with their brand.
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