Wednesday, February 19, 2020

FIRST TIME VENDORS AT WOLFF'S FLEA MARKET - MUST READ

By Sharon Wolff

WELCOME TO WOLFF’S FLEA MARKET!

FIRST TIME  & NEW VENDORS!  PLEASE READ!

Created 8/7/17 - Updated 3/10/19, 4/19/19, 6/21/19, 2/19/2020

Yup, this looks like another long read by Wolff's Flea Market...👀
Thank you for considering selling at one of Chicagoland’s best flea markets! Whether you are decluttering or starting a small business, we are here to support you in your endeavors!

It's EASY to get your seller space! No reservations required. Drive to west side of building around 5am, stay in your car and staff will assist you to a space - first come first served. Please refer back to SELL for more specific info. READ ON FRIENDS!

We want your experience at Wolff’s Flea Market to be pleasant and successful.
In order to encourage your success and maintain our reputation as a legitimate, family-friendly shopping venue, we incorporate stringent merchandise rules.

Please carefully read the captivating information included in these links:


FIRST:
What are you selling?
We recognize that vendors obtain merchandise from a variety of sources. While most sources may be legitimate, a few are on our radar as suspect for counterfeit merchandise. Did you know that counterfeiting is a major issue in all online forums? Social media sale groups and other online marketplaces abound with a mixture of legitimate and counterfeit products. Please always research your sources. We may ask you about your source, too!
We also expect you to educate yourselves on the type of products that are allowed and why certain items are banned. Read more below.


SECOND:
So, therefore - we inspect your merchandise. 
We inspect everyone’s merchandise. 
All day. 
More than once. 
It's what we do. 
It's what we love. 
Call us weird. 
Call us Counterfighters.

Some vendors (usually new or first time sellers) are unaware of our rules (which follow actual LAWS) and need to either remove a big chunk of the merchandise they invested in, or even worse, have little left to sell and therefore need to leave our market. But the ultimate worst is the vendor who takes it out again and experiences the escorted Drive of Shame, straight out the exit...never to be seen again. 😩

Common items that first time sellers might bring:
Counterfeit Dolce & Gabbana purse
See the removable clip-on tag? 
  • Baby furniture: high chairs, strollers, cribs, car seats, formula etc. We do not allow because of safety and recalls. Even new items are included in this rule.
  • Counterfeit wholesale electronics: Online (Amazon, eBay, marketplaces, local for-sale groups, etc.) and local brick and mortar wholesalers are well known for selling counterfeit phone accessories - chargers, cables, headphones...be aware!
  • Counterfeit sports jerseys: Garage sale/thrift shop/a guy/other sources might even tell you the jersey is real. It might appear to be crisp and clean with tags. Items are faked in varying quality. Please know your product before investing and bringing it out to sell. (Hint: Look for misspellings and bad stitching on fakes). 
  • Counterfeit or high end designer purses: Sorry it is very unlikely the (insert brand name) purse you found for $3 at a garage sale is real!
  • And even if you are "sure" that your Coach or Louis Vuitton bag is real - you still cannot sell it. And other stuff, too, so let's just all read and re-read the rules and spread the love.
  • Oh-and even if you think it is ok to sell a fake as long as you tell your customer - nope, still not cool. #afakeisafake
  • #nowyouknow
THIRD:
We like to teach you to buy safely and sell safely
While we aim to educate new vendors, those who don’t get with the program may end up being permanently ejected. 

Our goals: 
Prevention
Intervention
Education
It’s a piece of PIE!


And as always, please call or text us with questions. We are not lawyers, nor do we represent any of the hundreds of brand names and designers we have made it our business to protect. We are a small family-owned business that aims to do the right thing by keeping our clientele safe! We are always learning about new products and counterfeits. We love sharing our merchandise experience with the world! 

Google is your friend: Please "google" many of your questions regarding counterfeits.
Read this enchanting article about how to avoid buying counterfeits 
Or text/call us 847-524-9590

OUR "COUNTERFEIT COLLAGE"







COUNTERFEITS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS -WOLFF'S FLEA MARKET

COUNTERFEITS FAQ
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
BY SHARON WOLFF Creative Media & Merchandise Consultant to Wolff's Flea market
We are not lawyers, and this is not legal advice. Information here is gathered from our experience and ongoing research. Counterfeits are not allowed at Wolff's Flea Market. 
Vendors are responsible for monitoring their own merchandise.
More Questions?     Call or text 847-524-9590     wolffs.com 
Originally published May 2015
Edited 11/17/16, 3/7/2017, 5/5/18, 2/19/2020
  1. WHAT IS A COUNTERFEIT? Counterfeit products are illegal fake copies of real products. People knowingly or unknowingly buy or sell counterfeits. Other related terms: fake, copy, replica, forgery, knock-off, bootleg, pirated, unlicensed, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, look-alike.                                            
  2. IS THERE A LAW? The Lanham Trademark Act is the federal law prohibiting counterfeits. It bans the use of: copied pictures, words, symbols, logos, etc. except to original trademark owners. This law protects brands and their intellectual property.
  3. WHY DON’T YOU ALLOW COUNTERFEITS? We strive to uphold the law and maintain our market as a legitimate shopping venue. 
  4. WHO CARES? We care because counterfeit products are illegal, deceptive and poor quality. Brand owners, legal firms, US Customs, and other governmental agencies send investigators into flea markets to raid, arrest and sue individuals and market owners. Additionally, stores, individuals, mall kiosks, wholesalers, importers, manufacturers, websites and street vendors are also routinely busted and/or sued. Unfortunately, counterfeiting continues.
  5. WHAT KINDS OF THINGS ARE COUNTERFEITED? In one word: EVERYTHING. Every brand and type of item is vulnerable. Trendy and expensive items are highly desirable and fall prey to counterfeiting over and over again.
  6. WHAT DOES “CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR” MEAN? Counterfeiters may create an item with a pattern, logo or packaging design that closely resembles the real product and causes you at first or second glance to associate it as authentic. A brand name or logo may not actually be present, but pattern, color combination, packaging, wording, etc. may be very similar. Other terms: trademark dilution. #designersdespisedilution
  7. #3 IS REAL. THE OTHER PATTERNS
     ARE CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR/DILUTED 

    AND BANNED.
  8. WHY DO STORES SELL “COMPARE TO” ITEMS IN SIMILAR BOXES? Comparative advertising is legal in the US if item is “clearly identified, truthful, and non-deceptive" (wikipedia). However, we occasionally see lawsuits between companies. Read more here.
  9. WHAT ABOUT THOSE  SPORTS “PARODY” T-SHIRTS? We currently do not allow sports parody (also known as mash up designs) shirts. This is a subjective and gray area of ongoing research. 
  10. COME ON, IT’S A FLEA MARKET, PEOPLE DON’T EXPECT TO FIND THE REAL THING HERE! It is illegal to sell counterfeits, wherever you are. We work hard to maintain our reputation for offering legitimate goods and NOT counterfeits. #afakeisafake
  11. WHAT IF I TELL THE BUYER IT IS COUNTERFEIT? It is illegal to sell counterfeit merchandise. #afakeisafake
  12. BUT THE CUSTOMER DOESN’T CARE AND WANTS IT. It is illegal to sell counterfeit merchandise. We recognize that the counterfeit industry is fueled by consumer demand for look-alike, cheap, trendy products. #againafakeisafake
  13. WHAT IF IT IS ONLY ONE ITEM? It is illegal to sell counterfeit merchandise. Did you know that several trademarks or patents may apply to only one item? #youknowitafakeisafake
  14. WHAT IF I DIDN’T KNOW? Well, now you know, so put it away. Repeat offenders may be ejected from the market. 99% of our vendors choose to be educated and safe. However other vendors have been permanently ejected over the years for selling counterfeits.
  15. WHAT IF IT IS USED? It is illegal to sell counterfeit merchandise, NEW or USED.
  16. WHAT ABOUT “THAT GUY” OVER THERE WHO IS SELLING IT? If you see someone selling banned merchandise, please give us a space number and we will check it out. You may do this anonymously. 847-524-9590
  17. CAN I JUST SELL IT TODAY? NO. It is illegal to sell counterfeits. 
    CUSTOMS AND PORTS OF ENTRY
     (click on photo to read small print)
  18. WHY WAS I ABLE TO BUY THESE COUNTERFEITS TO BEGIN WITH? We enforce our own rules, and cannot answer for the manufacturer, importer, store, guy, other flea market, website or wholesaler where you bought the counterfeit item(s). Unfortunately, even when vendors make good faith efforts in asking their source about the legitimacy of their purchase, they may be told that it is "ok", when it is in fact counterfeit. Counterfeiting is a worldwide problem that is not limited to flea markets. At least 80% of counterfeits are from China and only a fraction are stopped at ports of entry. Some components separately enter the country through regular mail and are assembled into counterfeits here.
    A COUNTERFEIT MICHAEL KORS EMBLEM
    WAS PLACED ON A CHEAP BLANK YELLOW PURSE
    Arrests can and do happen, so we need to stop it HERE and NOW.
  19. WHAT IS WOLFF’S DOING TO STOP COUNTERFEITS? 
  • We have a 3 part program: Prevention-Intervention-Education (PIE).
  • We conduct ongoing research.
  • We monitor hundreds of vulnerable brands and licenses. We do not allow certain highly counterfeited brands: Coach, Louis Vuitton, MAC, Beats by Dre, Otterbox, Lifeproof, Gucci, Chanel, KatVonD, Kylie, Yeezy.
  • We monitor Homeland Security's categories of merchandise: Apparel/Accessories, Footwear, Watches/Jewelry, Handbags/Wallets, Consumer Electronics, Consumer Products, Pharmaceuticals/Personal Care,Optical Media (music, movies), Toys, Comper/Accessories.
  • We analyze products according to many parameters.
  • We use hands-on training with photos and items to teach staff and vendors about counterfeits.
  • We vigilantly patrol our markets. 
   19. HOW DOES YOUR POLICY PROTECT US? Our policy keeps customers from making fraudulent purchases, prevents vendors from arrest and protects the flea market from vicarious liability lawsuits for allowing counterfeit sales. Flea market raids occur all around the country. Designers Coach, Louis Vuitton and UGG have won millions of dollars from lawsuits against flea market owners.
  • Vendor arrests: NY, IL, WI, IN, TX, FL, MO, KY, SC, MA, CT, NC
  • Coach: Swap Shop, FL ($5.5M), Visitors Flea Market, FL ($42M/bankruptcy), New Hampshire, Chicago, 
  • Louis Vuitton: Eisenhauer, TX ($3.6M), Swap Shop, FL (undisclosed, but over $5.5M)
    20. WHAT CAN I DO AS A CONSUMER? Thanks for asking! Your best tool is to 
          educate yourself! Subscribe to "Google Alerts" for topics related to counterfeits. Be
          aware of popular trends and brands. 

                        Questions?    Call or Text  847-524-9590     wolffs.com