April 27th, 2011
Accessories, Fashion News, New York Shopping
Buying a Knock Off Bag Could Carry a $1,000 Fine or Land You in Jail
By Claire

You might want to reconsider purchasing a counterfeit bag should you ever come to New York!
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin proposed a new bill that would impose penalties of up to a year in jail or a $1000 fine for buying knockoffs.

She said, “I urge visitors that come to New York to come for the authenticity, not to buy these fake bags or electronics…We have local designers that create unique items at affordable prices, and they’re available. So don’t just come here for the knockoffs.”
She ain’t playing!
Apparently if the bill passes, New York will be the first U.S. city to criminalize the purchase of counterfeit goods.
What do you think of the proposed bill?
Read more here.

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47 Responses to “Buying a Knock Off Bag Could Carry a $1,000 Fine or Land You in Jail”

  1. Corey says:

    lol Do people still shop and buy counterfeits on the streets not only should people who buy them should be help accountable but the person that is caught selling them should be held accountable

  2. Coldplayer says:

    LOL Thats stupid! People should be able to buy whatever they want! And what if they legitimately cant tell the difference?! The gov. cant prove that the person know! The vendors should be punished! It’s hilarious that the fine could be $1000 when they could get a designer bag for that much

  3. Lansky says:

    Totally agree if I was a designer I wouln’t like people bought knock off of my ‘creation’ !! & isn’t hype anymore to buy knock off!! If you can’t afford… is too bad. Not trying to be rude but I’ve respect for designer even if I can afford it myself !!


  4. ARenee says:

    This is sooo stupid! There are far worse crimes that need to be focused on. Why doesn’t she focus on enacting laws that would protect wives against domestic violence or people from
    being scammed. These type of laws need to be strengthened. How about working on laws that would that would prevent police brutality. One year in jail for buying a knockoff? Really?

  5. Meryll says:

    $1000 isn’t enough, punish the suckers! Cut your coat according to your size, dammit!

  6. O. says:

    Perfectly appropriate. Counterfeit merchandise often drives child labor, human trafficking, illegal drugs, and terrorism. It doesn’t support tax-sponsored needs of communities like hospitals, schools, or roads. Just don’t do it. At the very least, NY is probably at a great risk if designers decide to come together and sue the state for not being harsher on well established counterfeit markets.


  7. lawyerChic says:

    I think the possible one year in prison would be extreme for a purchaser, but a fine seems appropriate. Fashion companies spend millions on brand protection every year. There are laws against plagiarism, copyright infringement, and patent copying so why wouldn’t fashion be included in this?

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  9. Donca says:

    To tell you the truth I work in a consignment shop and some people really have no clue how to spot a real from a fake. It could have z’s all over it and they will still think that they have a real gucci bag. That being said I could see this being ugly. I think that the seller should be the one that gets in trouble not the buyer. not everyone is as savvy as you would think and I could see a lot of people who genuinely did not know what they were getting into getting in trouble.

  10. artsylee says:

    The fact is that the brands that they push down your throats, the high ends ones, (that they directly and indirectly say you must have or you’re not in), are not affordable. Those bags costs hundreds to thousands. People who can’t afford these will buy a knock off… that’s just a fact. She is trying to protect these high ends businesses, not the smaller more affordable brands.

    I’m against piracy but she needs to come off it. These large corporations have far reach.

  11. Me says:

    This is ridiculous, I agree with another poster that there are much more important things that they should focus on.

    I can understand how a designer can be upset that others are buying knockoffs, but at the same time those that can afford the real thing will still buy the real deal. If designers were really so bothered by others buying cheap copies off the street, then they should also produce and sell more affordable options. Why should someone be punished because they admire something that they are unable to afford? Or should those who make less money be punished for having their priorities straight and not spending their lifesavings on a bag that they desire?

    I’m sorry, but this screams elitism to me.

  12. jillibooboo says:

    Bill will never pass. NY needs that tourist money.

    dont they got better things to do in NY?

  13. Ashley says:

    I never saw the problem with kock-off bags. The people who buy them are people who could never afford the real thing. Imitations are a strong part of the informal economy. Its just greed on the part of these companies. Most of the bags are not worth the price. And I’ve seen these raids before. Most of the sellers are Chinese and African immigrants who they treat like dirt

  14. wow, thats all I have to say is wow, I agree with Me. NYC is fast becoming a place for the “haves” and they have been trying to get rid of the have nots ever since bloomberg changed the law so he can stay in office, smh this is just another another example of how elitist this city is becoming…

  15. Beyani says:

    This bill is stupid and NY needs to find something better to do, for real! (Wasting tax money)..People buying knockoffs is not taking away from big designers simply because with or without knockoffs around, the average Joanne consumer will not waltz in LV and and buy anything because she can’t afford it. People that have the money will buy the real deal most likely because they don’t want to be talked about.

  16. Myranda says:

    I agree 1000% with this fine. It’s a smack in the face to the designers who take the precious time to create these materials. It’s gotten so bad for LV that you don’t even want to buy one because it’s gotten knocked off. Oh and fake Hermes????

    Why not just invest in a quality bag and stop trying to keep up with everybody.

  17. lostluv224 says:

    I just posted something about this on facebook yesterday. RIDICULOUS!!

    Yesterday while in the elevator carrying my gucci bag ( store bought) a guy asks me if i had heard about the bill ( i hadn’t) so he tells me they want to fine people and possibly give them jail time for buying fakes– (blank stare) seriously is it that important?!

    I’ve been fortunate to be able to treat myself to a few high-end bags here and there – but thats me. I have friends that carry fake bags and half the times they look damn near identical to my $600+ ones. I dont bat an eye and we carry on about our business.

    And i agree with whoever said that if designers were so worried then they should make things for all price points – point blank period – everyone deserves to feel luxurious once and a while regardless of what their pockets look like.

    I’ve seen 2 videos of young men being shot in cold-blood, broad daylight, in NYC and counterfeit bags is what they choose to worry about?!?! SMH it makes me not even want to aknowledge im from here .

  18. Nunyabizniz says:

    I approve this fine 100%.
    Knockoffs are uber tacky, I still can’tbelieve people are buying that crap they sell in NY (China town…etc) A friend of mine got a LV bag at $20, I looked at her in disbelief…. She never wore that s*** around me, and later donated it. But please let’s all do better… let’s just buy the real designs that we can afford. There is always something available for every and any price range.

  19. BOBBIE says:

    In all honesty , I am on the fence with this one. I believe that any individual should be able to buy what the want(could afford) without being fined for it . But, @ Myranda stated above- It is a smack in the face to the designers who spend time and money on materials to create these bags.Has it really gotten so bad that they must pass a bill? Why not pass a bill on boys who sag their pants? I for one am against knock-off bags. I use to work for Coach as a specialist and now I am able to recognize any brand (type) of knock off. I believe that they cannot be compared to the originals but some of them come pretty darn close. I live in NY and every corner in the city is flooded with these counterfeit bags- these people are just trying to make a living. I am 50/50 with the bill- there are more serious issues going on.

  20. DinkaDon says:

    The funny thing is, the people who buy knockoffs are more concerned about being called out on their fakes rather than going to jail LOL!

  21. BOOBOO says:

    It don’t matter cause flea markets are STILL goin 2 sell knockoffs. Flea markets all over got them bags. She need to b concentrating on getting the bums and trash off the streets of NY than someone tryin to buy a knockoff…

  22. I think its kinda funny that someone would be personally offended by someone buying or wearing knockoffs. Unless you are Marc Jacobs or getting a % of his check for every LV bag sold thats kinda nonsensical. People who are rich will buy real and people who are not will buy knockoffs, this law will not effect LV, Marc Jacobs or any other designer since everyone one on canal street is not going to run to buy real bags if it passes. Smh thats just silly, if you cant afford it you still wont be able to afford it after this law passes. And honestly these designers steal ideas and styles from real people everyday! Are you kidding me? where is my damn check for all the “African inspired” looks on the runway??? This is just ridiculous

  23. esme says:

    i’m ambivalent about it. on the one hand, i understand why they are trying to crack down on this “industry”. the counterfeit bag industry supports terrorist and crime organizations and they are obviously unregulated, so i’ve heard of them using child labor. not to mention that the sellers are infringing on someone’s trademarks or copyrights. there are pretty much no positives to knowlingly purchasing a counterfeit of a bag that you obviously can’t afford when there are PLENTY of well made bags in many different prices ranges.

    on the other hand, i will conceed that there may be people out there who unwittingly purchase a counterfeit bag that is inauthentic because they really can’t tell the difference between the real and fake one.

  24. Ryan says:

    I think they should put the focus more on cracking down on the vendors rather than the buyers. I’m cool with the fine but jail time? NYC has to allocate it’s resources appropriately and carting someone off to Jail for buying a fake bag is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

  25. MS.B says:

    I feel if you want to rock a fake LV/Gucci or whatever thats you. Some people cant afforf dt and if you wanna buy the $30 lv speedy compared to the $730 real one thats you. I rock it and have no problem with saying its a fake. Forever 21 copies designer labels too but there isnt a bill against them. People need to come off of their hgh horses like ms nunyabizniz. You dont look down on a person because they didnt buy the authentic bag. Its just a purse gosh. Everything is copied so everything must be coutierfieted.

  26. stone says:

    stupid, you can’t prove someone knows it’s a knockoff.

  27. binks says:

    That is to stupid. First, who really cares. I don’t know about anybody else but I’ am not worrying about if the person bag is real or fake because it isn’t that serious. Secondly, are we now telling people what they can or can’t buy with their own money…blank stares…. If they want to have some sort of fine associated with the person selling the knockoff goods especially if they are tie with other crimes like O. mention aboved than that is okay. But it is not like these designers are going hungry because of these knockoffs, let’s be serious. These designers already know who their target buyers are at the end of the day. I just feel like we need to stop policing people over every little thing, where does it stop?

  28. KBS says:

    WAIT, a Speedy is $730 now?!!?!!?! When did that happen?

  29. Maryse says:

    In reaction to this post, but first to : lostluv224

    you said:
    ‘Yesterday while in the elevator carrying my gucci bag ( store bought) a guy asks me if i had heard about the bill ( i hadn’t) so he tells me they want to fine people and possibly give them jail time for buying fakes– (blank stare) seriously is it that important?!’

    I think you were missing the point. Because I think he thought YOU were wearing a fake bag. Or did you say that in your comment (didn’t see it).

    Someone posted (I can’t find the comment anymore) that buying fake bag is linked (indirectly?) to child labour, other criminal activity and such. That may be so, but I do agree with the ‘vendors treated like sh**’ comment and all of the ‘the less endowed are allowed to buy these things (in a knock off manner but still) too’-comments.

    I bought a fake LV bag once (I actually thought it was just really cheap :p.But gave it away to my brother’s girlfriend, because so many people I know have the real deal. And as someone said, it really is ‘frightening’ be pointed on your counterfeit item(s).

  30. dyshaun says:

    This is insane LOL This may be more of a victim less crime then prostitution!

    How are they going to prove that the consumer knew? What profit does the high end luxury good loose by ppl purchasing counterfeits?

    I am just of the belief that ppl who buy counterfeit wouldnt buy the genuine article anyway. LV n’them counting chickens ‘for they hatch!

  31. Ally says:

    @KBS, yes dear LV raised their prices 2 months ago. Damn shame isn’t it? P.S they are going to do it again before the year is out, I advise you to get there ASAP….I did!

  32. esme says:

    i am ambivalent about this because i can understand why they are trying to crack down on this “industry”. on the one hand the counterfeit bags industry has been shown to support terrorist organizations and criminal organizations. it is also an unregulated industry so they have also been known to use child labor to create these bags. not to mention the copyright and trademark infringement that is going on. i can’t really see the upside to purchasing a poor imitation of a bag that you obviously can’t afford instead of a well made bag in a price range that you can afford.

    on the other hand, i can conceed that some people may unwittingly purchase a counterfeit bag because they can’t tell the difference between a real and fake one.

  33. esme says:

    don’t know why my comments aren’t showing up, but i am ambivalent about the law. the counterfeit bags industry isn’t exactly victimless. i think if people knowlingly purchase them they should be held responsible because there are many sinister organizations, like terrorists and the mob behind it, not to mention child labor. if someone doesn’t know then i don’t think they should be held responsible.

  34. esme says:

    can i say anything on this topic?

  35. esme says:

    i don’t know why my previous comments aren’t showing up, but counterfeits were linked to the 1993 world trade center bombing. the industry funds terrorists, and the mob, and is unregulated so there is often child labor. i am ambivalent about the law. i think people should be held responsible if they knowlingly purchase these bags. if not, then no they shouldn’t be held responsible.

  36. esme says:

    why aren’t my posts showing up?

  37. Teyanna says:

    Excuse my french…this is some full blooded republican ish. Let’s take a look around & face facts: the average 9-5 making some odd 35,000per year can not afford $400-$5000 bag. Either way their profiting is one is purchasing a knockoff. These designers are madefor high end consumers, which is a small pool in this current economy

  38. Raven says:

    “I urge visitors that come to New York to come for the authenticity, not to buy these fake bags or electronics…We have local designers that create unique items at affordable prices, and they’re available. So don’t just come here for the knockoffs.”

    Margaret Chin, I urge you to step up and fund this. I mean you said they’re affordable.

  39. lola says:

    Lets establish the difference between a knock-off, which is a Gucci-inspired dress by Bebe; counterfeit, which is someone who isnt a legitimate Gucci vendor selling you dresses that they know good in well arent Gucci but try to convince you they are bc it looks the same.

    With that said, there is nothing wrong with knock-offs – it allows those who cannot afford the newest hottest thing to have something similar without breaking the bank. Counterfeiting is wrong bc like an earlier poster said it cheats NYC out of tax revenues that could fund social programs, government jobs and things of that nature. It is proven that most countereit operations fund terror and drug operations, child labor, sex industries and pretty much any other seedy underground illegitimate industry you can imagine. From a business perspective it damages the brand bc people will look at your counterfeit bag falling apart and think thats what happens with real Gucci and if they were going to buy something from them they no longer will. And its not just bags/clothing – there’s counterfeit movies, cd’s, toothpaste, meat products, baby products so in some cases the purchaser can be hurt physically bc they thought they were purchasing a legit product. There was a story recently where mothers in China (i think) bought what they thought brand named formula from a reputable market that ended up killing thousands of babies bc it was a concoction of dry wall and some other things no one should be ingesting

    Both parties need to be punished where it hurts the most – in their wallets! The seller needs to be hit with steep fines (five figures and up first offense, jail time second offense) and the purchasers need to be fined at the very least a few hundred dollars so they think twice before doing that in the future. If youre buying it off the street from a cardboard box or in some dank basement in a seedy part of town you know exactly what your doing so pleading ignorance wont work. If the demand isnt there the supply, and the crimes associated with it, will go away.

    These items may be heavily promoted but at the end of the day no one forces you to buy any of these things. You dont need them to live, they dont make your live better and there are plenty of other options out there at prices you can afford. If you cant afford it get something you can… chances are youre buying it to impress someone who’s broke and cant afford it either. Take that money and invest in your future.. not something that is out of style in six months

    *sorry for my rant. I’m stepping of my soapbox now :-)

  40. lola says:

    *comes back for a minute

    Wait… a Speedy is $700????? that damn euro is effing everything up lolol!

    When I bought my Speedy (the big one) back in 2003 it was abt $500 but I worked for the store so I got 30% off and I stopped carrying it in 2007 bc my taste has changed. At $350 that was a good investment.. I cant say I would do the same now… def wont be dropping $700 on something that small that is knocked-off and counterfeited so frequently

  41. Cherokee says:

    If I purchase a fake designer handbag I can possibly be sent to jail for 1 year or pay a $1000 fine. Really? Where is the JUSTICE in that???? The NYPD is understaffed and now if this lame ass bill goes through (which it proabably won’t, scary if it does) resources must be shifted. For this???? I could care less about what people wear whether it is real or fake. I would much rather have the limited resources we have utilized to crack down on the terrorist, child laborers and other illegal activity that is profited by this business, not the person who just wants a knock-off handbag.

  42. Cherokee says:

    Arresting the buyer or the seller will not stop the production or sales of counterfeit designer handbags.

  43. Lex says:

    If you can’t afford it then you shouldn’t buy it IMO. I’ve seen some terrible knock off’s and you can always tell the real from the fake. I’ve never been wrong.

  44. candleashes says:

    This sounds like a good idea to me. Not only are you stealing from the designer, the counterfeit goods are often stolen and the money is used for criminal activity. It’s like selling and buying drugs; both holding and selling is punishable by law, I don’t see why it shouldn’t apply to fake products.
    I don’t get why people buy fakes in the first place. They look awful and cheap and any bag you can purchase at the store for the same price would be a lot better than whatever it is that you can get in the middle of the street.
    Just remembered seeing a man selling stuff on a corner and the sign read: “Designer” jewelry $5. I appreciated the honesty and irony, made me laugh.

  45. candleashes says:

    P.S. just saw a comment that Forever 21 (and a lot of other brands) copies things all the time and there isn’t a bill against them and wanted to say that they get sued for a lot of money all of the time by the companies whose designs they rip off. Forever 21, Guess, Steve Madden, Sketchers… the list goes on and on, pay a lot of money every year in lawsuits. The problem with counterfeit vendors is that there is no one there to sue since its an underground operation and they relocate all of the time, so discouraging preventing people from buying stuff in the first place is a good option.

    And if people don’t think that an LV bag is worth the $700, just don’t buy it. I don’t have one and I don’t feel even a little bit bad about it. Just because you think something is expensive, it doesn’t mean that you have the right to steal it, which is basically what you are doing by getting it on the street corner for $30. Just because you paid for something doesn’t mean that it’s legal or that you aren’t stealing it.

  46. you shouldnt get in trouble for buying something you want,, its open to the pubic in all places nyc….the ppl selling it should! sarah willman

  47. mcv says:

    i think buying a counterfeit bag is such a disgrace to those like myself who actually pay for the real designer item. if you can’t afford a real bag, find one in the price range you can actually afford instead of buying a knock off where the handles will probably turn to shreds within a month of wear. i agree with this bill to a certain extent. the punishment is a little on the extreme side, but i see why it is the way it is.. to make people aware and to prevent counterfeit purchases.

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