A tourist in Italy found herself with a 1000 euro fine after purchasing a counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbag from a vendor on a beach in the area of Jesolo near Venice.
Jesolo has a zero tolerance approach to the purchase of counterfeit goods and is cracking down on illegal vendors. The idea is that if tourists are discouraged from buying goods with the threat of a fine then the supply of such goods will consequently fall. Councils have the authority to impose fines of up to 10,000 euros.
Mrs Corel stated that she knew the bag was counterfeit but was unaware that purchasing it was a violation of local regulations. She argued that, as a tourist, she was not given sufficient warning that her activity was illegal. This argument, however, was not considered to be an acceptable defence.
The Hoteliers Association in the area offered to help pay off Mrs Corel's fine as they supported her position that, as a tourist, she was not given sufficient notice that her activity was illegal and that the regulations should be well advertised to visitors.
The UK Border Agency has warned British citizens against purchasing counterfeit goods. Companies and individuals alike should adhere to the advice that purchasing counterfeit goods at home or abroad is never a good idea and if you do, you will no doubt find that you are facing fines or other penalties you didn't bargain for.