Complaints About Counterfeit Products Leads To Probe In Samoa

Fake deodorant, washing powder are inferior, hard to distinguish from original

By Alina Lackerbauer

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 24, 2016) – The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L) has launched an investigation into fresh claims about members of the public being fooled with new fake products on the retail market.

The alarm was raised by a local Supermarket chain after receiving multiple complaints from members of the public about the quality of the products in question.

The supermarket met with M.C.I.L and the Ministry has immediately responded.

The Samoa Observer has been told the fake products are imported from Asia.

Among them are the Rexona roll-on deodorant and the Boom washing powder.

“If you were to see these products in the shops, you would not know which one is the original and which is fake,” an official from the Sales and Marketing team of the supermarket in question told the Samoa Observer. 

 “We are raising this issue because we believe information like this will help the public more in terms of awareness about what is going on.”

According to the official, the culprits have photocopied the same details, word for word on the fake Boom powder. 

The only way to compare them is if they stand directly next to each other. Then differences in height and width are recognizable. 

The fake washing powder is smaller and slimmer. The whole layout appears darker and there are narrow differences concerning font type. 

Yet, people who only see one product are not able to figure out whether it is original or not. 

It is the same with the Rexona roll-on deodorant. As forgers copied the shape and the logo it is almost impossible for the human eye to spot a fabrication. 

The official said the supermarket was alerted after it received many complaints about the quality of the products after the purchase.

The Rexona roll-ons do not last long and have almost no fragrance to it or a very different smell than normally, to list a few of them. 

“It gives a bad consumer feedback in terms of the brand.” 

Complaints about the washing powder were similar. 

“The consumers noticed that Boom’s ingredients were different. They could tell negative differences when they washed the clothes. 

“So we wanted to see whether we had the right product. So, we went back to the factory to analyse the products and found out we had several fakes.” 

The supermarket blames the new Asian businesses.

“There are so many of them and they all work together,” he said. “Chinese are very business-orientated. They will look for loopholes and if they can win something with it, they will do it. On the black market in Hong Kong you can find everything for a very cheap price.”

Normally the Rexona Roll-ons are sold for about $4 [US$1.56]. The fake products are being sold for $2.50 [US$0.98]. 

Asked for a comment, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) confirmed that the complaint from the supermarket has been lodged and they are investigating it.

Principal Fair Trading Officer Karen Niumata is leading the investigation.

Samoa Observer
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