In France, fines for purchasers of fake handbags face steep punishment: up to 300,000 euros fine and up to three years in prison. A French resident told us that in practice, you can be fined up to 10x the value of the real bag. In New York City though, we mostly hear about raids on importers and producers of fakes. Many have touted this disconnect as the reason why France just doesn’t have a significant counterfeit problem.
There was a lot of news in June regarding a bill that was being heard by city council, proposed by councilwoman Margaret Chin, to punish the demand side of the counterfeit bag business. Though not nearly as stringent as France, the fines were up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
What wasn’t reported as much was that the bill died in council (official word is that it was “laid over by committee.” According to the Daily News, however, A representative of the mayor’s office feared it would scare people from buying from legitimate merchants. The Brooklyn DA’s office felt it would wrongly punish those that were legitimately confused by the difference between counterfeit and authentic.