It is exactly consumers themselves that are the final victims of counterfeiting, even piracy. When buying counterfeit products, consumers get a product of poor or at least unverified quality, which can expose them to the risk to health and their own safety. The prices of counterfeit products mostly do not correspond to the quality of the very products, since they are formed according to genuine products manufactured in compliance with controlled quality and safety standards as prescribed. The purchase of a counterfeit product does not give the possibility to a consumer to file a claim or indemnification in case of the product’s defect, and in case of purchasing the pirated software, for example, he cannot exercise the right to the supporting services such as customer support.
Consumers often buy counterfeit products consciously, guided exclusively by the reasons of a lower price and not thinking about the related disadvantages or risks of such purchase. Still, the greatest victims of counterfeiting are consumers, who buy a counterfeit product confident to have bought a genuine product; therefore, in order to protect consumers, in addition to the bodies competent for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, there are also various inspection bodies and associations for consumers protection participating in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
Speaking of piracy, any piracy (software, music or film) exposes users also to high risks. With the internet development today, software piracy or piracy of musical and film works can seem tempting to someone, unless being acquainted with the related risks – why pay something you can get for free? However, for free in this case is in no way the cheapest or the most favourable. Individuals who might even unconsciously be engaged in the purchase of counterfeits on the internet advertising sites or in the transmission of pirated contents on the so-called peer-to-peer networks expose themselves to high and expensive risks of identity theft, risks of spyware, even possible criminal charges.
Therefore, consumers are always advised to be careful when buying products protected by intellectual property rights via the Internet i.e. to choose copyright works and works that are subject of related rights protection legally offered on the internet (music, movies and serials, software and the like) i.e. offered by authorized internet dealers and distributers of the products designated with a protected trademark.