Amazon and eBay are called on for extra vigilance as counterfeit cosmetics are on the rise

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Amazon and eBay are called on for extra vigilance as counterfeit cosmetics are on the rise
If you thought that counterfeit cosmetics were a problem reserved for the likes of developing countries, think again.

Although many major beauty brands work tirelessly with authorities in Britain and internationally to stop the illegal sale of counterfeit cosmetics, they are on the rise in the UK.

Just last month, the City of London Police issued a national alert after discovering fake versions of MAC and Benefit cosmetics containing worryingly high levels of lead and mercury. 

More than 4,700 counterfeit versions of MAC cosmetics were found including foundation, bronzer, lip gloss and eye shadow.

Watch out for metal!

Many of the high levels of metal found in fakes, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and cadmium are banned.

European criminal gangs are reported to be shipping container loads of the knock-offs to the UK as well as selling them on e-tail platforms like eBay and Amazon.

Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations at online brand protection specialist, NetNames revealed that; Counterfeit goods now make up 10 per cent of global trade, with £1.1 trillion estimated to have infiltrated international markets.”

According to Fuller, in order to tackle counterfeits, cosmetics players need to build a strong relationship with the likes of Amazon and eBay and deploy an effective brand protection strategy to quickly identify and eliminate fake websites and listings of counterfeit goods.

“For beauty brands, safeguarding genuine customer traffic and protecting the legitimate route-to-market is of paramount importance to maximise the opportunities that online channels offer,”​ he added.

Retail giants need to be extra vigilant

Estée Lauder was awarded over $1.8 million​ in 2015 after winning its lawsuit filed in March 2013, following litigation in Australia where the beauty player had taken retail giant, Target to court for stocking MAC knockoffs.

While Target maintained its' innocence, the retailer made an offer to the international cosmetics giant after chemical testing revealed that the products it was stocking were counterfeit.

Following this suit, Estée Lauder then took action against 'Get Your MAC On' for allegedly ignoring evidence of the fake products.

In 2014, eBay and luxury good firm LVMH settled their longstanding legal fallout over counterfeit products dating back six years with a French court ordering the e-tailer to pay LVMH €38.6 million.

In its defence, eBay insisted that it spends a great deal of time and money trying to clamp down on the sale of counterfeit items.

That same year, L’Oréal and eBay also buried the hatchet and teamed up to eliminate sales of counterfeit products after the cosmetics giant had accused it of being involved in trade mark infringements committed by users of its website in an EU court.

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