Counterfeit games consoles and adaptors are potentially putting Christmas consumers’ lives in danger, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have warned. Hundreds of imported counterfeit games consoles seized at UK freight depots were found to have been supplied with potentially dangerous power adaptors.
The goods had been purchased from a range of websites, mainly based in Asia, which claimed the items were “genuine Nintendo products.” Many of the consoles, which are fake versions of the popular Nintendo DS and DS Lite had been bought for around £40, instead of the usual retail price of £100.
Nintendo confirmed that the Nintendo DS and DS Lite consoles were counterfeit, and the power adaptors being supplied with the product were not Nintendo manufactured and were, in fact, potentially dangerous, since they had not been electronically tested and do not meet strict UK safety standards.
HMRC’s Head of Intellectual Property rights Pamela Rogers said: “UK consumers must be vigilant when purchasing goods online. Buy from a reputable or regulated site and, if purchasing from outside the UK or a new website, research the site – check all the facts before you buy.
“At best, these consoles would have led to disappointment on Christmas morning; at worst, they could have caused serious harm or injury.”
Rogers also warned:”Counterfeit goods also cause considerable damage the UK economy by undermining genuine UK retailers and small businesses who are honest and abide by the rules.”
Mike Rawlinson, managing director for the trade body of the UK game’s industry ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), comments: “We are asking all concerned parents to be diligent – often when a bargain seems too good to be true it actually is. We would also like to thank HMRC for their role in swiftly alerting all UK ports to be on their guard for similar counterfeit goods coming into the country.”
“As a responsible industry we are also extremely committed to ending the damaging counterfeit games market, which not only defrauds UK tax payers with inferior products but in some cases actually puts children’s lives at risk too. This is an issue that affects all retail businesses, particularly at Christmas, and more needs to be done to work together to mitigate the risks posed by fake goods. We are also continuing to work very closely with Trading Standards Officers on this important safety issue and we also want to thank them for their diligence.”