Customs and Border Protection officials raided a Willy Jhons store in Miami Wednesday and walked out with boxes of jewelry marked as Chanel, David Yurman, and Tous. There was only one problem, none of it was real.
“Stuff that you would buy at an exclusive boutique, you know, that may say cost you about $2,000; these people were selling it for $150 or less,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias. “Basically, the consumer is ultimately getting ripped off if they think they’re getting something that’s a legitimate brand.”
CBP officials confiscated counterfeit items along with anything that had a trademark violation. Yglesias said the danger from the knockoffs goes beyond just the fiscal aspect.
“There could be earrings that are made out of copper, and you have a pierced ear,” Yglesias said. “So you are putting this merchandise that’s got copper or any other kind of harmful metal substance that can be hazardous to your health.”
Officials said an obvious sign to look out for during this holiday season, the price. If it’s cheap, but really costs a lot, it’s probably fake.
“It’s very easy to tell,” Yglesias. “And the first thing you look for is craftsmanship. If you’re looking at an item that has rough edges when the edges should be smooth, when you’re looking at certain kinds of stitching on certain items, those are tell-tale signs.”
CBP and ICE officials said no arrests have been made in the wake of the raid.