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The counterfeiting phenomenon has been extended to the sector of machinery for gardening and groundskeeping to seriously damage not only manufacturers who perform honest work and make substantial investments in product innovation but also consumers who are unaware and the state itself.
To combat this phenomenon, the Comagarden, manufacturers association in FederUnacoma, working in cooperation with the specialized publication Garden and Grill, has opened a campaign for the purpose of disseminating information on the financial damage done to the sector by counterfeiting and the dangers for end-users caused by many imported items which fail to meet the requirements on safety and quality standards written into European Union legislation.
The companies working honestly suffer financial damage in the form of reduced revenues – resulting in job losses and a reduced tax take – as well as damage to their image when the counterfeit is perceived by the consumer as of lesser value.
The counterfeit machine, in fact, does not carry the same safety and quality guarantees of legitimately produced items which are the responsibility of the manufacturer and thus expose the end-user to evident health and safety risks.
The low price it is possible to pay for a counterfeit is justified by the use of low quality materials which lead to the great risk of breakage of the machine or the single components. In the name of legality and collective interest, counterfeiting must be combated with all possible instruments of verification, control and repression and, above all, through the application of the responsibility of individuals, those who will not purchase counterfeits lacking the technical requisites and quality standards demanded for the European market. The purchase of counterfeits, moreover, can lead to an administrative fine of up to 7,000 euros and confiscation of the item in accordance with art.1, p.7 of Legislative Decree 35/2005. .
1. Always turn to an authorized, known and trustworthy dealer who can guarantee that the product is an original, who knows the products and their technical characteristics and can be the direct intermediary for all procedures involving assistance and relations with the manufacturer.
2. Carefully evaluate purchases made through such sales channels as the Internet, television and catalogues which usually do not make it possible to directly see and handle the item. Especially for the Internet, attempt to get as much information as possible on the status of the retailer, identity, address, guarantee, the right to return the item on second thought and value added tax number, using feedback from previous customers. Also pay special attention to door to door salespeople and stay away from unlicensed retailers on the street.
3. Make certain that the machine carries the CE seal which certifies respect for the safety requirements essential for compliance with the applicable EU Directive. Also the authenticity of the seal must be verified: all its components must be of the same size and no smaller than 5 mm and the two letters must maintain the same proportions when reduced or enlarged.
4. Be careful not confuse the CE mark indicating conformity of the product and the CE CHINA EXPORT sign or others not in conformity.
5. Make certain that the machine is sold with its own instructions manual. This will be published in various languages to allow the purchaser to scrupulously consult it for anything needed, maintenance, repair, regulations, etc..
6. Also make certain that the manufacturer's brand name is printed, and not attached as a sticker or decal (also the manual carries the CE certificate). The brand name is usually painted on or appears with raise letters or the like. Check to make certain that the brand name is the original and not something similar, possibly by looking on the manufacturer's website. In some cases, for smaller mass produced items, also the smaller components in plastic bear a trademark logo. The external packaging can also provide features which guarantee the authenticity of the item by reporting such data as serial number of the manufactured item, the place of manufacture and the trademark and logo of the manufacturer.
7. Through direct contact with the retailer verify the real coverage of the guarantee, the first instrument through which the company takes on responsibility for the product and through which the buyer's purchase is safeguarded.
8. Carefully evaluate the difference between the market price and that of the retailer in that a great difference is usually a signal of a counterfeit. Intrinsic economic logic states that the price of a product cannot be lowered below a determined threshold unless its technical characteristics have been substantially modified.
9. Check to make certain the machine has a an identification plate attached with the manufacturer's data, including full address, year of manufacture, model and serial number.
10. If a counterfeit is come across, this must be reported to the proper authorities, especially (in Italy): the Ministry for Economic Development (telephone call center: 06 47055800; direct counterfeit line: Fax. +39 06 4705 5750, email firstname.lastname@example.org); the Guardia di Finanza at number 117; the State Police at 113; the Arma dei Carabinieri at number 112.