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Report fake or counterfeit goods

This advice applies to England

You have the legal right to a refund if you’ve bought something that’s fake or counterfeit.

You can also report the seller to Trading Standards or report the seller for fraud. Trading Standards might take legal action against the seller, but they can’t help you to get your money back.

Getting a refund from the seller

The amount of time you have to ask for a refund depends on the date you bought the item, because the law changed in October 2015

If you bought before 1 October 2015

You have the legal right to a refund within a ‘reasonable’ time of you buying the item. The law isn’t very specific on how long you have, but if you’re confident in your approach you should be entitled to a refund within the first 2 months or so.

What to say or write

“I have a right to a refund under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, because this item doesn’t match its description”.

If you paid for the item over 2 months ago, you’re legally entitled to a partial refund depending on how much you’ve used the item and how long you’ve had it. You’ll have to negotiate with the seller to agree on a fair price. The seller can also give you a genuine version of the item to replace the fake one.

If you bought on or after 1 October 2015

You’re legally entitled to a full refund on fake goods within 30 days of paying for them.

If it’s been over 30 days but less than 6 months since you paid, the seller is legally able to give you a real version of the item to replace the fake one. However, if they can’t provide a replacement, they’re legally required to give you a refund (up until 6 months after you paid for it).

What to say or write

“I have a right to a refund under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, because this item doesn’t match its written/verbal description”.

If you paid for the item more than 6 months ago, you’re entitled to a part-refund depending on how much you’ve used the item and how long you’ve had it. It’s harder to do this after 6 months as you could be asked to prove that the item is a fake - try talking to the real brand and asking them to inspect it.

If the seller refuses to give you a refund

Sometimes sellers argue that items were obviously fake because they were very cheap. They can say you must have known it wasn’t the real thing and use that as a reason not to give your money back. However, they’re breaking the law by selling fake items and your legal rights still apply.

If you need more help finding out how to get your money back, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline. Contact the Consumerline if you're in Northern Ireland.

If you paid by debit card

Contact your bank and say you want to use the ‘chargeback scheme’. If the bank agrees, they can ask the seller’s bank to reverse the transaction and refund the money back into your account.

Many bank staff don’t know about the scheme, so you might need to speak to a supervisor or manager. They might ask you to put your request in writing. You should do this within 120 days of when you paid.

If you paid by credit card

If the item cost less than £100, you should contact your credit card company and say you want to use the ‘chargeback scheme’. They could also ask you to put your request in writing. There’s no time limit for when you need to do this.

If the item cost between £100 and £30,000, contact your credit card company and say that you want to make a ‘section 75’ claim to get your money back.

If you paid using PayPal

Use PayPal’s online Resolution Centre to report your dispute.You must do so within 180 days of paying.

Report the seller to Trading Standards

Trading Standards looks into criminal activity and prosecute sellers and traders who break the law. You’re not legally obliged to report someone selling fake goods, but it might stop other people accidentally buying fakes from them in future.

Read more about reporting a seller to Trading Standards.

Report the seller for fraud

As well as reporting them to Trading Standards, you can also report the trader to ActionFraud. You’re under no obligation to do this, but they will register the trader on the national fraud database, which helps them understand the scale of fraud across the UK.

You can report online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call them on 0300 123 2040.

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