Since 2004, sales of counterfeit Giorgio Armani merchandise have popped up on streets around the world, including some in South Florida, according to a Team 6 investigation.
Team 6 Investigators followed a group of questionable Armani sellers around Miami Beach for several days and found they all use the same tactics: the men pretend to be foreigners asking for directions. They pull over in an SUV near a bank or gas station while holding a map and act lost to passersby. Then, they try to peddle what they say is designer merchandise.
A woman who spoke to NBC 6 said she paid $100 for three watches a seller on the street said were Armani. Another man showed investigators some jackets he bought in Hallandale Beach that have what looks like a designer label on them.
While Armani representatives did not want to comment on the authenticity of the merchandise sold in South Florida, an industry source said there's no doubt this stuff's fake. A fake can be spotted by looking at the logo, which differs from the Armani eagle logo, and by looking at the name of the supposed collection. For example, the jackets sold in Hallandale Beach say "EA Collection," which is not an Armani line.
Similar activity has been reported in countries like Canada, Australia, South Africa and even Italy. Online, hundreds of complaints about similar counterfeit merchandise have shown up on websites like RipoffReport.com. One man on the website claims he bought three knockoff Armani jackets for $600 in New York City.
Team 6 tried to speak with one man selling watches on the street, who said he got his merchandise in a store. He refused to specify at which store he got the watches and instead got into his SUV and sped off.
Selling counterfeit merchandise would be illegal.
Experts say if you find supposed designer items for a price that seems too good to be true, they're likely knock offs. It's better to stick with reputable sellers, even if it means paying more, to make sure you get the real deal.