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Use RFID tags to tackle fake goods menace online: Experts 

DT Next , Jan 23, 2020

At a FICCI seminar here, Shakthi Priya, Legal Consultant, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), elaborated on the challenges the firm faces from duplicate products. “When it comes to shopping online, most of the fake products that are designed to look like genuine HUL products, have slight variations in packaging. Sometimes the colours are dull, there are changes in the font style of the text or the items delivered may just be packaged poorly,” she said.

Over 302 million people in the country have access to the internet, making it the second largest global online user base. “When we find out about such fake goods being sold online, we immediately contact the seller. But, the problem is, the manufacturer may simply put up the same product on a different e-commerce site. That’s why we have to continuously check listings of wherever our products are put up for sale,” Priya said.

A ‘FICCI Cascade’ report pegs the industry loss at about Rs 105,381 cr on account of illicit markets in only seven manufacturing sectors, while the government suffers a loss of Rs 39,239 cr. Among the various sectors, at Rs 9139 cr, tobacco products account for the maximum revenue loss. It is followed by mobile phones at Rs 6,705 cr and alcoholic beverages at Rs 6,309 cr.

Prateep V Philip, DGP, Civil Supplies (CID), stressed on the need for brands to “track and trace” the products shipped to consumers.

“Companies should seriously consider using RFID tags and bar codes, besides tamper proof packing, to track and trace where their products are being delivered and to assure of their authenticity,” he said.

Urging that consumers must not bear the brunt of ‘Fake in India’ instead of ‘Make in India,’ Philip said brands should unite to fight the menace of counterfeit goods to rebuild confidence in consumers. “Money from illicit trade also fuels terrorist activities, hence, there should be no tolerance towards fake products,” he added.

Sajjansingh R Chavan, Commissioner, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, said despite enforcement agencies crackdown on counterfeit products, manufacturers themselves should make it easier for consumers to get in touch with them if they come across such items.

“Currently, there are a lot of levels that consumers have to go through to inform manufacturers of fake products. A streamlined, formal system will allow for effective communication between consumers and brands and help curb the practise of producing counterfeit goods,” he said.



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