As teams get deeper and deeper in the playoffs, as the Bruins have in making the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals, the hunger for team apparel and souvenirs grow -- and with that the chance of ending up with counterfeit products.
The NHL issued a warning to fans that they could be targeted by "bootleggers attempting to sell unauthorized and poorly produced knock-off merchandise."
?The Stanley Cup Playoffs are prime time for counterfeiters to take advantage of innocent fans,? Tom Prochnow, group vice president of NHL Enterprises said. ?Many consumers are unaware of the tell-tale signs that are associated with counterfeits."
To protect its relationships with companies licensed to sell NHL products, the league, as other leagues have done, has a hologram that can be found on official products.
The NHL offers the following tips to help fans avoid buying knock-offs:
- Look for the hologram sticker or holographic hangtag and a sewn-in or screen-printed label identifying the name of the NHL licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce genuine or official merchandise
- Shop at legitimate retailers, such as the Boston Bruins Proshop or Shop.NHL.com, the official online store of the NHL, rather than buying items from street vendors, flea markets, overseas websites or other questionable sources.
- Beware of ripped tags or irregular markings on apparel.
The NHL said more than 3,000 pieces of counterfeit NHL merchandise were seized during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Earlier this month, a Chicopee man pleaded guilty to selling phony Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots gear from five sporting goods stores he owned in locations including Worcester, Chicopee and Springfield.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com