Style & Beauty

NYC Counterfeit Fine In Works Would Charge Shoppers $1K

Would You Pay A $1K Fine For A Fake?

Fake fashion: It might not be the right thing to indulge in, but almost every budget-conscious shopper has. Some of us buy knockoffs at Target or stylish spinoffs by indie labels. Some of us get duped. Some of us know better, but there are plenty of shoppers who don't.

That counterfeit bag you recently snagged could soon be an illegal offense in New York City, as the famous fashion capital is advocating for a law that would punish the purchaser of an infringing item. Buyer beware, indeed. City Councilwoman Margaret Chin first introduced a bill in 2011 to outlaw counterfeit shopping activity, but is now making "a renewed push" to get it passed, WWD reports. Chin's enthusiasm for the bill is likely high because her district includes Chinatown, which is NYC's unofficial counterfeit capital.

The bill would consider counterfeit purchases by individuals or groups a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. These consequences would take effect "if they knew or should have known 'such trademark is counterfeit for reasons including, but not limited to, the quality and price of the purchased item, and/or the condition of the seller and the sale location.'"

The bill must come before a public hearing in order to pass, which Chin predicts will happen within a few months. Back in 2011, the New York Post spoke to police officers who thought the law would be "difficult to enforce." We wonder, then, if the hearing and renewed interest in the bill will include developing strategies to ensure prosecution of offenders.

Do you think this penalty is too high? How much would you risk for a taste of high-end designer style on a low budget?

Notorious knock-offs:

L.A. Triumph vs. Madonna's "Material Girl" Clothing Line

COPYCATS! Designer Knock-Offs

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