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What are the legal implications of carrying (not buying) a fake bag?


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Feb 10, 2009, 6:05am   #1
d
Thread Starter
License to Overdress
I recently travelled with a friend to Paris. I was bringing a beautifully-crafted non-designer handbag and she was carrying a Mirror Image Chanel Jumbo Flap in black caviar leather. I, and my friend, know very well that she was carrying a fake bag. While Ive heard of people getting fined and arrested for carrying fakes, I was surprised that no Fashion Police accosted us. We were dressed well, btw, though none of the rest of our outfits screamed Designer.

Are you criminally liable for using a fake? How will the police know? Do they approach everyone that comes to France to authenticate their purses?

I would like to know the legal implications of this. To remind my friend that no fake bag, or bag for that matter, is worth her life.
Feb 10, 2009, 7:04am   #2
C
Member
you and your friend are lucky. i've had two reliable stories of separate incidents regarding fake bags.

one US airport LAX, fake lv bag. stopped they took her fake lv. she had to transfer belongings in a plastic bag. similar story in france, paris, fake lv. also forced to relocate belongings into a plastic bag. in the latter, they actually riped the fake lv to shreds.

anyway, both involved fake lv s not sure about fake channel.

better safe than sorry. besides sooo many beautiful crafted handbags, well within any budget range. why risk it?
Feb 10, 2009, 7:25am   #3
d
Thread Starter
License to Overdress
Right. Better safe than sorry. I was just wondering. We got through security at Charles de Gaulle airport, my friend taking a deep breath, thinking she got a really good Mirror image replica.

It is good that the subject of your reliable stories just lost their fake bags, and not fined with huge amounts, or worse, imprisoned.
Feb 10, 2009, 12:29pm   #4
h
Member
I think there are lot of urban myths about fake bags being confiscated. I believe that fake SELLERS are liable, but that fake bag CARRIERS are not. I think the authorities want to punish COUNTERFEITERS and not women who carry fake bags (sometimes unwittingly). Having read a lot of horror stories here about fake bag dire punishments I was amazed to see so many fake Gerard Darel bags in France last year. If these stories were true, about half the French population would be in jail now! But nobody was batting an eyelid.
Feb 10, 2009, 1:45pm   #5
tadpolenyc's Avatar
baahh, ram, ewe!
heather's right. the laws are more clear cut in european countries like france and italy in regards to fakes, but here in the u.s., it is not illegal to buy or carry a counterfeit handbag. i tend to doubt the veracity of stories where people claim they've had their replicas, which they're carrying, confiscated by police officers in the streets of ny and such. to be honest, the average law enforcement agent can't tell the difference between an authentic and fake lv to go around seizing personal property to begin with.

to appeal to your friend, i'd use the intellectual property/human rights violations angle as opposed to trying to scare her out of buying a fake.
Feb 10, 2009, 1:59pm   #6
m
Member
It's not illegal to buy or carry then, but they will confiscate them if they find you carrying one while going through customs. If it's something you bought in another country and you don't claim them going through customs, you CAN get fined though (for smuggling counterfeit merchandise and not declaring all things bought outside the country). But usually, that's only if you bring back lots of fake stuff. It depends on the country, too. Canada is pretty strict about smuggling in fake stuff because there's so much of it that sneaks its way in.
Feb 10, 2009, 2:17pm   #7
canada's's Avatar
Member
i have seen many fake handbags in paris (at the airport and in the city), most of which were on tourists/people there for work since it was fashion week. many of them were what you would call mirror replicas, and i'm sure there were even more than i wasn't able to ID as fake, and everyone was carrying them in the clear daylight.

i also think it's an urban legend about the woman who's bag gets seized.
Feb 10, 2009, 2:22pm   #8
Purse-o-holic's Avatar
Member
Thats so weird. I just heard the same urban legend this week about being arrested in France for carrying a fake. not that I'm worried.
Feb 10, 2009, 2:32pm   #9
Swanky Mama Of Three's Avatar
in the USA it's not illegal to carry one, it's illegal to sell them.
In Europe it IS and you can be efined and/or arrested for it.
I've posted photos on tPF of th massive signs in Italy warning people about counterfeits.
Feb 10, 2009, 7:09pm   #10
d
Thread Starter
License to Overdress
Originally Posted by tadpolenyc
heather's right. the laws are more clear cut in european countries like france and italy in regards to fakes, but here in the u.s., it is not illegal to buy or carry a counterfeit handbag. i tend to doubt the veracity of stories where people claim they've had their replicas, which they're carrying, confiscated by police officers in the streets of ny and such. to be honest, the average law enforcement agent can't tell the difference between an authentic and fake lv to go around seizing personal property to begin with.

to appeal to your friend, i'd use the intellectual property/human rights violations angle as opposed to trying to scare her out of buying a fake.
I am not talking about LV, Im talking about Chanel. But yeah, I believe the average law enforcer cannot authenticate designer items, unless of course it happens to be a very bad LV fake made of pleather instead of leather, or when the monograms are totally off. But again, better safe than sorry.
Feb 11, 2009, 12:33pm   #11
h
Member
I asked a UK customs/immigration officer friend about the confiscation of fake bags. He laughed and said that customs officers in Glasgow have better things to do. He said he wouldn't recognize either a fake or a real designer bag if he fell over it. What HE'S mainly interested in is stopping drug traffickers. After our conversation I remembered this guy's reaction a few years ago, when I met him for coffee at Prestwick Airport when I was visiting family and friends in Glasgow. I excitedly showed him my new ivory Prada bag. He tred to humour me by saying how nice it was, but admitted that he'd never seen a Prada bag in his life. He thought his wife probably hadn't either!
Feb 11, 2009, 12:35pm   #12
M
Member
I don't know if it's illegal or not to have one fake, but I'm sure it isn't nice to have a fake one.
Feb 11, 2009, 3:00pm   #13
kismet86's Avatar
Member
USA it isnt' illegal.

When I was living in Italy though I was out with my roommate and she bought a fake Chanel and the undercover police came up to us and started yelling at us in Italian (I could understand him, but felt for that occassion it was better to play dumb American, lol) and then he told us that she would either have to throw down her bag or he would fine us 33,000 euros and take us into custody. I was like OOOKAY JESS THROW IT DOWN AND LET'S RUN. Lol - it's a fun little story to tell my friends of the time I almost got arrested in Rome.
Feb 12, 2009, 11:11am   #14
d
Thread Starter
License to Overdress
You mentioned the police was yelling??? Wow. So he must be far from you. Far, meaning, not near enough to scrutinize the said Chanel purse. And yet he was able to tell it was a fake. Amazing how even police are educated like TPF people to authenticate bags. Haha. Kidding.
Feb 12, 2009, 11:34am   #15
h
Member
There are fake bags all over the place where I live. I doubt whether anybody bothers or even thinks of hiding them from the authorities. I see a lot on the Uni campus. They're often fake Chloe Paddingtons. But fake Balenciaga Firsts in cheap-looking materials are also popular. They just make me feel better about my REAL bags. But at the end of the day I couldn't care less which bags women are carrying. To be honest, I see a lot of real ones that don't impress me at all, like the Chloe Paraty.

Kismet86, that's a fun little story, but maybe the 'undercover police' were winding you up as 'dumb Americans'!
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