U.S. Customs and Border Protection San Juan Field Operations announced Tuesday the seizure of a shipment consisting of 844 counterfeit alloy car wheels imported into Puerto Rico.
The estimated manufacturer suggested retail price of all the counterfeit products seized is approximately $238,000, had the goods been genuine, the CBP said.
“Purchasing knock-offs of high-end, high-demand products online does have an impact on the local economy,” said Leida Colón, assistant director of field operations for trade.
“Counterfeit automobile parts represent a significant safety issue for drivers who transit the islands roads and highways,” she said.
The CBP cited auto industry publications that say the use of fake wheel rims can cause serious problems to drivers, as these products often do not pass the industry safety standards. When tested, the fake wheels could not pass safety testing on potholes, a common occurrence in local roads.
The CBP San Juan Field Office, which comprises ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, has also seized counterfeit air bags, fog lights and tires among other items.
“We caution car owners to be extremely careful when making purchases online. The cheaper price is often deceiving, and consumers are unaware of the real threats posed by inferior automobile parts,” Colón said.
“The sale of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of revenue, robs American workers of jobs, and poses health and safety threats to U.S. consumers. Oftentimes, the proceeds from counterfeit merchandise sales supports other nefarious and illicit businesses,” said the agency, which has an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program through which it targets and seizes imports of counterfeit and pirated goods, and enforces exclusion orders on patent-infringing and other IPR goods.
“Despite these efforts, the internet has made it easy to find, purchase, and ship items from almost anywhere in the world. With a high demand for well-known brands, many online vendors sell counterfeit products online, infringing on various trademark holder’s rights and revenues,” the CBP said.