LOS ANGELES—Customs agents assigned to the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports recently seized over 13,500 counterfeit designer products arriving in a cargo shipment from China that, if genuine, would have had an estimated retail value of more than $30 million, authorities said Dec. 2.
The agents found handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts, and pants bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks, such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL, and Louis Vuitton in a shipment on Nov. 9, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
If genuine, the seized merchandise would have a combined estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $30,437,775, according to CBP.
“CBP commits substantial law enforcement resources to keep counterfeit and pirated goods out of U.S. supply chains, markets and streets,” Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, CBP officers remain vigilant, committed, and focused on disrupting these smuggling operations.”
Historically, counterfeit products have been sold on illegitimate websites and in underground outlets, CBP reported.
“Bad actors exploit e-commerce operations by selling counterfeit and unsafe goods through online platforms, particularly during the holiday season when shoppers are looking for deals,” Donald R. Kusser, port director of the Los Angeles and Long Beach Seaport, said in a statement.
“If the price of the product seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Kusser said. “Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and can even be unsafe for you and your family.”
Consumers were urged to take these steps to protect themselves and their families from counterfeit goods:
—Purchase goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.
—When shopping online, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.
—Review CBP’s “E-Commerce Counterfeit Awareness Guide for Consumers.”
The guide is available here (pdf).
Last year, CBP seized 26,503 shipments nationwide containing counterfeit goods, together estimated to be worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.