Germany: Darmstadt Main Customs Office: Customs confiscates counterfeit products at the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt

February 1, 2024

Customs officers from the Darmstadt Main Customs Office identified complaints at 27 stands at this year’s Creativeworld and Ambiente consumer goods trade fairs, initiated 27 criminal proceedings and subsequently withdrew 1,134 suspected counterfeits from circulation. On the instructions of the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt am Main, EUR 41,500 was collected as security.
The goods seized, in particular toner cartridges, pens and glasses, originated mainly from China but also from India and Taiwan. “Anything that can be turned into money is counterfeited,” says Tanja Ackermann, spokeswoman for the main customs office in Darmstadt. The officers from the main customs office in Darmstadt also seized catalogs or removed posters depicting the counterfeits. “This is the only way to prevent counterfeits from being ordered at the trade fair and later being sold – counterfeits harm both the economy and the population,” says Tanja Ackermann. The honest companies lose out in competition.
The counterfeits usually cost less than the originals, which is often reflected in the poor quality of the goods. This is why the inspections also focus on safety. “Ingredients that are banned in Germany can be used during production – this can pose a health risk,” says Tanja Ackermann.
Official test marks were used without the products having been tested and certified by the responsible body. Consumers and manufacturers rely on these marks as they indicate the safety and quality of the products. The counterfeit test marks shown were removed from the measurement charts and catalogs, and business cards with the images were seized.
As a rule, counterfeit products are traded online, which means that they can only be checked at the border after the order has already been placed. Experience has shown that on-site inspections at trade fairs are extremely effective, as traders and goods are in one place and inspections can be comprehensive and targeted.
Around 10 customs employees worked in two groups for two days in the exhibition halls on various routes. They were accompanied and supported by representatives of the rights holders.

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