Canadians Concerned About Mistakenly Purchasing Counterfeit Goods This Holiday Season

Microsoft survey reveals 78% of Canadians are concerned about how the trade in counterfeit goods negatively impacts upon our economy

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 30, 2011 /CNW/ - According to a new survey by Ipsos Reid, 74 per cent of Canadians claim their strategy to spend less over the holidays this year is to buy gifts that are discounted or on sale. Additionally, in order to stretch their holiday dollars and to search for the best deals, many Canadians (64%) admit they are more likely to comparison shop online this year to ensure they are getting the most for their dollar.

However, with the wide availability of such non-genuine products as toys, clothing, video games and software, all highly sophisticated and deceptively packaged, the likelihood of counterfeiters preying on bargain hunters increases when the consumer focus is on finding the lowest price. There is an increased level of awareness of the effects of these transactions among Canadians accordingly; 78 per cent of Canadians are concerned about how this trade in counterfeit goods is negatively impacting our economy.

"Survey results show that 80% of Canadians are worried that if a deal seems too good to be true, the product could be a fake.  When purchasing gifts online this holiday season, it should remain a priority for consumers to protect themselves from these tempting, and potentially dangerous, counterfeit products," said Chris Tortorice, Corporate Counsel, Anti-Piracy, Microsoft Canada Inc. "Microsoft has made it its mission to educate consumers on what to look for to ensure they don't purchase counterfeit and pirated software. By providing customers resources like the www.howtotell.com website we empower customers."

There is a growing awareness around counterfeit-goods emanating from organized crime. Eight in ten Canadians believe that a counterfeit product's proceeds may be supporting illegal activity or even organized crime.

"Criminals feel a sense of security in conducting their business online.  Counterfeit operations run today are extremely sophisticated and the risks to Canadian consumers are high," said Lorne Lipkus, founding member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network.  "Our plan to put these criminals out of business must be equally as sophisticated.  We need to challenge the government to create anti-counterfeiting laws, support law enforcement in their efforts to enforce these laws, and companies to commit to protecting consumers by making it more difficult to counterfeit products. "

While Canadians recognize counterfeit products are a global issue, the illegal industry continues to grow on account of the products being increasingly difficult to identify. In fact, the differences between counterfeit and genuine are sometimes subtle and hard to tell.

When Andre Schoenherr of Brampton, ON purchased Windows 7 Ultimate on eBay in September 2011, he never suspected he was sold counterfeit software. "I thought I was buying a genuine Microsoft product from a respected online reseller," said Schoenherr. "The packaging looked so real online; the literature looked professionally printed. It wasn't until I contacted Microsoft about the product that I realized I had been duped. Had I installed the software on my computer, it could have caused a lot of damage."

Microsoft Canada offers tips consumers can take to help them avoid buying counterfeit products:

  • Do your research— Take some time to find out what you're buying and who you're buying it from. Listen to word of mouth, check references, and get insight from experienced and trusted retailers.
  • Compare the price - Everyone loves a good deal, but one secret when bargain shopping is making sure the sale on a quality product is reasonable and not alarmingly low, which could be a potential red flag.
  • Look for the flaws - Counterfeiters might be good at producing replicas, but there are usually subtle differences in the packaging of the goods, sometimes including spelling mistakes. Pay close attention before you make the purchase.
  • Use available resources - If you're questioning the legitimacy of a Microsoft product visit www.howtotell.com for more information and to report suspicious Microsoft software.

Additional Survey Findings reveal:

  • Sixty-four per cent of those aged 18-34 are considering making online purchases during the holiday season
  • Those 55 and older are most concerned with mistakenly purchasing counterfeit goods (56%)
  • Middle-aged Canadians are most likely to comparison shop online (70%)
  • Seventy-eight per cent of those aged 35-54 are likely to adopt the "spend less on everyone" strategy this year, more so than youth (71%) or senior shoppers (76%)
  • Women are more concerned that purchasing counterfeit goods may be supporting illegal activity or organized crime (85%)
  • Men (69%) are more likely to comparison shop online compared to women (60%)
  • Thirty-four percent of 18-34 year olds are concerned about online deals being too good to be true
  • Forty-one percent of women polled believe that Canadians would do anything for a good deal
  • Those 55 and older are most concerned about the impact counterfeit goods have on the Canadian economy (87%)

*The online poll of 1,004 Canadians was conducted in November 2011 by Ipsos Reid. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada

For further information:

Samia Makhlouf, on behalf of Microsoft Canada

samia.makhlouf@fleishman.ca

416-598-5792

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