Microsoft Canada Co.

Microsoft Canada Co.

March 28, 2007 09:42 ET

Don't Get "Fooled" When Shopping Online

Tips on getting the real deal when shopping on the Internet

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 28, 2007) -

This April Fools' Day many people will be duped by friends or colleagues. However, some pranks are no laughing matter.

With the popularity of online auction sites, it is easy and fun to find great deals. But sometimes a bargain that is "too good to be true" does not always represent the sale of a genuine good. The increasing flow of sophisticated counterfeit goods means consumers need to be more alert than ever to ensure they are buying the real deal.

According to the International Chamber of Commerce, counterfeiting accounts for at least US$500 billion annually in the global economy. Online counterfeit sales total more than 10 per cent of this figure and continue to increase(i). As a result, companies like Microsoft are working to help combat online counterfeiting and ensure that consumers are more confident their purchases are authentic.

In fact, Microsoft Canada Co. recently filed lawsuits against two Canadian eBay members for selling counterfeit software to consumers via the popular online site.

Michael Hilliard, corporate counsel at Microsoft Canada Co. says, "Microsoft is committed to protecting consumers from dishonest sellers. Together, Microsoft and eBay intervene in about 50,000 software auctions a year that appear to be distributing unlawful software."

However, while businesses are helping to fight online piracy, it is also the consumer's responsibility to take the right steps to ensure they are getting what they pay for.

"Although there are many benefits to the Internet, consumers must remember that they don't always know with whom they're dealing and should exercise due diligence when making purchases online," says Ken Hansen, Director of the RCMP's Federal Enforcement Branch.

So, don't be fooled by fakes. The following tips from Microsoft Canada will help ensure you have a safe online shopping experience:

1. Check the price: Remember if the price is too good to be true, it usually is - whether it is a luxury hand bag or software. For example, Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium retails for approximately $299 at stores like Future Shop and Best Buy. If you find it for a significantly lower price, it may be counterfeit.

2. Do your homework: Before buying, check the seller's rating or feedback comments on the auction site. Most legitimate sellers will have received positive responses from users/customers. In addition, ask for the seller's contact details up front or find out who you can contact with any questions or concerns about the product.

3. Be sure you are given a license: When purchasing software, it is standard within the software industry that every legal piece of software includes a developer's license agreement. Be wary of sellers who cannot provide this documentation.

4. Keep receipts: Keep as much information as possible - such as your order number and sales confirmation - regarding the transaction and the seller. This can help to build your case if the product is pirated and further action is needed with the auction site.

5. Report it: Report suspected unlawful activity occurring over the Internet. Microsoft provides two options: call the anti-piracy hotline at 1-800-RU-LEGIT or visit www.microsoft.com/genuine. For other software brands, contact the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft at 1-800 NO PIRACY or visit www.caast.org.

(i)Report on Intellectual Property Rights, Inside Fashion, October 26 - 30, 2006.

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