Buying fake designer bags can get you arrested in Italy

When we were in Italy, we saw lots of illegal immigrants selling fake designer bags like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Chanel in the street. You’ll see the vendors and their makeshift shops spread out on blankets everywhere in Venice. When the police come, they pack up and vanish. After the coast is clear, they set up again and are back in business.I think if you can name a brand, they have it. I had also seen these kinds of fakes in Thailand and Malaysia before.

When we were in Italy our guide warned us not to even talk to these vendors who sell these bags. Everywhere in the world if someone is selling illegal fake designer bags, the vendor is arrested and prosecuted while people who buy get away with a warning, but not in Italy.

In Italy, they fine you for buying these bags because they don’t want to arrest these illegal migrants. Italy has lots of illegal migrants because of the unrest in North Africa lately. The number is so high that the Italian government doesn’t want to arrest these people as it will cost them lots of money to follow proper process to deport them. They have to keep them in jail, feed them and follow a long legal procedure which means lots of money and resources in the process. The Italian government doesn’t want this headache so they have another policy.

They will issue fine for anyone caught buying these product on the spots which can range to thousands of dollars. They are hoping this will discourage tourist from buying goods from these illegal immigrants who in turn will stop income for illegal immigrants and finally they will leave Italy. But I have seen so many people buying the fakes from them. I think if you don’t go on a tour, no one will let you know that you can be fined. I didn’t see one sign during my whole trip mentioning anything about being fined for buying fake bags.

Here is one of that news from shortnews. com

Tourist Fined $1,450 for Buying Fake Louis Vuitton Bag for $10

65-year-old Austrian tourist Ursula Corel has been fined $1,450 for purchasing a $10 fake Louis Vuitton bag off a street vendor in Italy. Officers taking part in a crackdown on counterfeit goods observed the transaction through binoculars.

Corel says she knew the bag wasn´t real and purchased it “because it looked very nice”. She says she didn´t know it was illegal. Mayor Francesco Calzavara stood by the crackdown, saying they were trying to reduce demand and vendor numbers.

A local tourism organisation, alarmed by the prospect that the crackdown will drive away tourists, apologised to Corel and offered to pay the fine. The organisation is calling for warning signs and better communication with tourists on the issue.

I don´t think buying the bag was right but I don´t think fining the tourist is good idea either. I think there should be enough warning for tourist so they won’t risk buying them.

Imagine going on a holiday and having to pay $1000 unexpected fine which can easily ruin your holiday.

So if you are ever going to Italy, do keep this in mind.

28 responses to “Buying fake designer bags can get you arrested in Italy

  1. Pingback: Ne vous faites pas d'illusion : la contrefaçon coûte cher

  2. Pingback: Purchasing Counterfeit Goods: A Real Crime of Fashion – Fashioning Protection

  3. Pingback: What's wrong with buying counterfeit goods? | ShareAmerica

  4. Yikes, not that I plan on traveling to Italy soon, but that does sound a bit drastic. Seems ridiculous to fine the people who are actually bringing some buck to their economy.

  5. Nice article.
    It may sound a bit odd but lot of my friends (young students) bought a fake handbag for 15-25 euros during their vacation in Italy and you would wonder, the quality of those handbags is just ok for that kind of money. Everyone of us course knows it is a fake prior to buying.
    Ladies let’s be honest, who in todays tough economy has got a lot of money to pay $2k for a real handbag when you can have almost the same for just 20 euros ? A bit of controversial I hope you’ll publish this post though 🙂 Good luck. Nice Blog.

    • I do understand what you mean Carolina. But buying those are illegal like buying drugs or stealing so if you are willing to buy them then you should be OK with the punishment that comes with it.

      I do own lots of non branded bags which are cheap, good and cool 🙂

  6. I saw them everywhere in Venice ! ! I even checked out quite a few… but I don’t buy fake brand stuff. If I cannot afford it, then sorry. It was out of curiosity.

    But then it’s stupid to fine the tourist who’s usually innocent. Why not the one selling? That doesn’t make sense.

    • That is so true that there is no warning about it at all. I am sure buying fake is bad but to fine tourist like that is simply unacceptable.

      • The fake bags are sold by illegal immigrants who are kind of “owned” by the Mafia. The Mafia gets the merchandise and uses these people, whom they regard as “disposable,” as their distribution agents. As soon as one gets arrested, they immediately have another to take his place selling the same stuff. So arresting these poor guys is pointless.
        Arresting the tourists, on the other hand, may eventually destroy this trade in fake bags at its end point.
        The Italian government thinks that is their only hope of stopping the Mafia from destroying the Italian fashion industry. Fashion is a major part of the Italian economy and a lot of the major brands are already in financial crisis.
        I agree with you though, that they need to make tourists aware of this – I think they should put up very prominent warning posters in all the airports for example.

  7. Where I live in Sicily, just about evey women has a fake designer bag! If the law were enforced down here, they’d have to put the whole of Sicily in prison!!!

  8. Not an easy thing to stop. I get why they would wish to… sell their products with their own label. I don’t want fake anything, but I’d consider a product with an unknown label. Paying for or faking status, no thank you.

  9. Very informative and shocking about the way the law works and why they enforce (or don’t enforce) these issues with those pesky vendors! Personally, I’ve never seen anyone get fined yet either.

  10. Very helpful post, in Thailand they sell all grades of fake bags ranging from few hundred Thai Bahts to thousands of Thai Bahts for the A grade fake bags 🙂

  11. Antonio De Simone

    I was struck by your article, I think it is very true and accurate, as an Italian I can tell you are twenty years this sale has spread not only in Rome but throughout the country, it is very hard to fight this market, but I’m sure the things will change! a greeting. Antonio

  12. Ha..really. Thanks for the warning.

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