Safe online purchases
Before an online purchase, please check whether the product has been assessed as safe in the EU and in Finland. Never order a counterfeit product.
If you make on online purchase from a non-EU country, the product does not necessarily comply with the product safety regulations in force in the EU and Finland. The safety performance of the product may significantly deviate from the product safety regulations in force in the EU, as the manufacturer of the product may not have intended the product to be sold in the EU. Products sold online may also include products that have been withdrawn from the market somewhere in the world due to their dangerousness. Read more about product safety on the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency’s (Tukes) website.
Before the purchase, please check OECD’s portal on product recalls to establish whether the product has been withdrawn from the market somewhere in the world due to safety concerns. You can also check the Market supervision register of the Finnish Chemicals and Safety Agency (in Finnish) for possible sales limitations concerning the product in Finland.
Consumer rights may differ between EU countries. Consumer rights in countries outside the EU can be different from the rights of Finnish consumers. Product safety requirements also vary, as the legal protection of consumers in the EU and in Finland is different from the protection in, for example, Asian countries.
A counterfeit product is a product that infringes on the intellectual property rights (IPR) of the original product. The concept of pirated products encompasses, among others, movie and music recordings, in which material protected by copyright has been reproduced without permission.
The importation of counterfeit products for commercial purposes is prohibited. The EU Court of Justice has ruled that online purchases made by private individuals also comprise commercial activity.
If Customs suspects that the product you have ordered online is a counterfeit product, the import of your purchase may be stopped. The maximum penalty for an intellectual property offence is two years’ imprisonment.
Customs controls that the goods entering, exiting and being transited through Finland are not counterfeit goods or other products infringing on the intellectual property rights. The controls aim to protect the state’s tax revenue, the citizens and society from harmful products and the economic interests of the original right holder.
Concepts related to counterfreit products
- Trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods and services manufactured or produced by a company similar goods and services of other companies.
- Design right protects the appearance of the goods or part thereof. The object of the protection is always a concrete item or part thereof and is always perceived visually.
- Patent is an exclusive right granted to the inventor for using the invention for professional purposes.
- Pirated copy is a product involving an unlicensed copy of someone else’s copyrighted product.
- Counterfeit product is a product involving the unlicensed incorporation of a trademark belonging to another party or a copy of such a trademark, or a product that illicitly simulates the appearance of another product which is protected under design right.
- Infringing product: A product may infringe on intellectual property rights without being a counterfeit product.
Counterfeit products can pose a risk to health or public safety. Counterfeit medicines, foodstuffs, vehicle spare parts and electrical devices involve a particularly significant risk.
There is no reliable research available on the quality of counterfeit products. For example, a clothing item may catch fire or cause an allergic reaction, and children’s toys may contain harmful ingredients and parts that may come loose. Materials used in counterfeit products may even cause cancer. Counterfeit spare parts of vehicles may cause malfunctions and accidents, and counterfeit electronics products may cause short circuits.
There is no guarantee for counterfeit products, and the people responsible cannot be tracked down when the product breaks down or causes damage.
Vast amounts of money are involved in the counterfeiting business, and they are used to fund organised crime.
Counterfeits corrode the market for genuine products. As a result, around 100 000 jobs are lost annually in Europe.
Counterfeit products do not yield any tax revenue. The money must be levied by society from other sources, for example from your salary.
The selling of pirated copies of music, computer software, films and other similar products is depriving their makers of their income.
The maximum penalty for an intellectual property offence is two years’ imprisonment.
Read more: Counterfeit products and ordering online
- Further information on regulations concerning product safety: Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes)
- Instructions on online trade: Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and European Consumer Centre Finland
- OECD online service (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development)
- IPR pages of the European Commission
- Instructions of the European Commission for identifying counterfeit products
- European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property
- Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea): Counterfeit medicines
- Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Center in Finland