Golfers Beware Those Ping’s may be Pang’s

Golf Consumers Beware: Online Counterfeiting on the Rise
Counterfeit Golf Seizures Worth More Than $500K So Far This Year

These counterfeit golf clubs were seized by CBP.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is seizing an increasing number of counterfeit golf products ordered by consumers over the internet. Seizures of counterfeit golf goods have increased by 33 percent from fiscal years 2009 to 2010 and 37 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

CBP is sounding the alarm on a growing trend in the purchase of fake golf equipment,” said Commissioner Alan D. Bersin. “Consumers should know that purchasing a counterfeit product supports an illegal activity, harms U.S. businesses and takes jobs away from Americans.”

Today, the typical golf seizure consists of a set of clubs, a bag, head covers, and maybe a cap. The items usually arrive from China via mail or courier addressed to an individual in the U.S.

Through May of fiscal year 2011, CBP has made 265 counterfeit golf seizures with a total domestic value of $192,000, and an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $589,000.

Traditionally, counterfeit golf products entered the country inside sea containers with other goods. But with the rising popularity of internet shopping, CBP has increasingly seen the ability of counterfeiters to sell directly to consumers. Consumers looking for less expensive products are going online, ordering directly from Chinese suppliers, and shipping the goods home.

To avoid the purchase of counterfeit golf equipment, consumers should consider the following tips:

  • Purchase from a reputable dealer
  • Contact brand owner for list of authorized dealers
  • Be skeptical of “too good to be true” deals
  • Be aware of return policy if not satisfied with product
  • Be aware of money-back policies
  • Research legitimacy of foreign websites
  • Request references
  • If purchasing from an overseas retailer, know import requirements or contact a local CBP office.

CBP is on the frontline of intellectual-property-rights enforcement, partnering with industry, other federal agencies, and foreign governments to fight cross-border trade in counterfeit and pirated goods.

In fiscal year 2010, CBP officers were responsible for 19,959 intellectual property rights seizures with a domestic value of $188.1 million. Counterfeit golf equipment accounted for 786 seizures, compared to 519 seizures in fiscal year 2009, and 327 seizures in fiscal year 2008.

Photographs of counterfeit golf equipment are available at the website. ( )

B-roll is available at the Video: Counterfeit Golf Gear. ( )

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