How is Cayman protected from receiving counterfeit items?

| 07/06/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Would you please enquire if any sort of inspections are in place to catch counterfeit goods from entering Cayman, specifically everyday items such as dish soap and trash bags? I’m convinced that I purchased name brand items in one of our grocery stores that are clearly inferior in quality to the same brand purchased overseas. I know this a problem in the US and even with Amazon items. Is there any recourse here?

I have 100 garbage bags that won’t drawstring close and have liquid dish soap that has more water in it than soap and I’m pissed.

Auntie’s answer: Going through the various copyright and trade marks laws has not been my idea of a good time, but at least I was pointed in the right direction by a Customs and Border Control official.

Unfortunately, you are not going to like what I have found. The Copyright (Cayman Islands) Order 2015 and the Copyright (Cayman Islands) (Amendment) Order 2016 extend the UK’s Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which says, “Copyright is a property right which subsists in accordance with… the following descriptions of work – (a) original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works, (b) sound recordings, films or broadcasts, and (c) the typographical arrangement of published editions.”

It was explained to me that Customs would not be checking for any possibly counterfeit items such as you describe since these are not covered under copyright laws, as they fall outside the protected categories listed above.

Therefore, if you wind up buying a cheap knockoff of a trash bag here, there really is no place you can go to complain in Cayman. If you were living in the US, for example, you could take your complaint to the Better Business Bureau. In Cayman, for now it seems there is nothing you can do other than complain to the store (which may have unknowingly brought in a suspected fake) where you bought the item, as was discussed in a recent column.

Let’s talk again once the Consumer Protection Bill is enacted into law.

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Comments (30)

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  1. Foster's IGA says:

    Hi there! If you purchased any of the product at our locations (Foster’s or Priced Right) please send us an email ( so we can look into this further. All of our product is purchased from reputable vendors, and we will need to take action should something have come in that is not 100% legitimate. Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think both you AND costuless may wish to look into where your glad garbage bags are purchased.

  2. Johnny Rotten says:

    Buying designer goods in Cayman can be as risky as a market in Marrakesh. I overheard a conversation years ago that involved one of the major jewellery shops in town. The employee was bragging to his expat friend that his shop was selling fake Rolex watches. He went on to say the fake movements were in genuine housings. I’m not a wristwatch fanatic but I wonder if any of our anti-corruption skins have ever investigated this?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a great way for stores to markup prices and pay less for the items on their end.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I recently had to return some medication to the pharmacy and get a different brand because it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to.
    I too have noticed the “small stuff” getting increasingly crappy and made a mental note to switch to a different brand when I ran out … things like dish soap and shampoo not lathering, heavy duty aluminum foil seeming to be as thin as the discount brand, zippered plastic bags that leak, etc. Things that cost a few dollars, and thus pass under the radar in a busy life. It makes me make a mental note to keep an eye on the other stuff I use regularly.
    Thanks for bringing this up, I will be speaking to the store manager!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just as I suspected…Thanks Auntie…you’re awesome!

  6. Anonymous says:

    When you order a plate of shrimp at a restaurant you probably assume it is wild caught. Why would anyone go to a restaurant to eat farmed shrimp. But I guarantee it is 90% farmed. Go to the trash bins at a restaurant at the end of the day and find the commercial boxes for shrimp. You will see for yourself. Even if a server says it is wild caught. More often than not he would have no idea what you are taking about. The same goes for salmon and other fish that is not caught locally.

    • Anonymous says:

      Farming it is more sustainable than altering populations in the wild, no?

      • Anonymous says:

        Whatever you like. Just make sure you don’t pay premium for the farmed shrimp thinking you are getting a wild caught shrimp.

        Farmed shrimp, like farmed fish, tends to be far more contaminated than its wild-caught counterparts. Aquatic farms of all kinds also pose grave dangers to ecological systems. … The number one reason for all that: the dirty conditions in which farmed shrimp are raised.

    • Anonymous says:

      What about turtle?

    • Anonymous says:

      Some of the produce at the market is not local, even though the market is only meant to carry local goods. This includes the fruit used in shakes.

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the wild caught salmon at the supermarkets?

      • Foster's IGA says:

        Hi there – all of the wild caught salmon we sell at Foster’s is caught during season and only sold during season. Outside of that, we only sell farm fresh salmon in our stores.

  7. Anonymous says:

    cool going to start my fake rolex store…. if customs don’t care.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I love a certain kind of mineral water that is called Borjomi which is imported to the US from overseas. Accidentally I learned about fake Borjomi. I went to their website to see how to identify a real thing. Sure enough, they provide step by step guidance on how to do that. Plus I know how real Borjomi tastes.
    I believe cayman customs could also learn how distinguish real goods from fake. Reputable stores selling brand items could take initiative as well.

  9. The first Consumer Protection Bill was so poorly drafted that it wasn’t worth the paper it was typed on. Indeed, it was so bad that it’s been consigned to the “too hard” basket, where it will probably linger for years and deservedly so.

    Cayman does have a Better Business Bureau of sorts, set up decades ago by the Chamber of Commerce. But it’s never been activated, because the Chamber’s governing Councils have never given it any priority. It wouldn’t take much to give it a kick-start, and I as a former Chamber Manager would gladly be involved in that – but ONLY if it were a *genuine* effort and not just a *token* one controlled by political cronies. (And what are the chances of that…!?)

    • Anonymous says:

      Gordon, there is not a need for BBB in Cayman. The last thing we need is more red tape.

  10. Anonymous says:

    In a word – ‘None’. It’s the same as the situation with warranties – many of goods sold here are ‘grey’ imports that don’t have any warranty cover at all. It’s often better either to fly to Miami and buy the stuff there or bring it in as a personal import than buying it here. If more people did that maybe the scammers would get the message?

    • Anonymous says:

      So you think that your Miami warranty will assist???? Many waranties are void once the item is exported. Even if it is not, the cost to send an item back to the US would be yours, only then would the warranty take over. Most of the “good” stores on island will give your their warranty which varies in length, but at least you have something and should know up front. But I doubt there is much warranty on kitchen consumables anywhere.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Should at least report to the store so if they unknowingly bought it they can change suppliers.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Auntie, please check with the police. Importing fraudulent goods is likely a crime. It involves not only fraud and false declarations to the authorities, but involves money laundering. The trade in counterfeit goods is also known to support everything from terrorist financing to the cleaning of drug money. If customs are indeed happy to assist in or otherwise facilitate the importation of counterfeit goods their leaders should probably be arrested, and the department disbanded.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bring it back to the store! If they have management with some foresight they should honor the return and make note not to buy from the same supplier in future.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, how long have you lived here? They could give two shites. They prob buy from China who are notorious for ripping off brand names with inferior quality. But it’s cheaper for them, but they pass it off as the genuine item and the genuine price.
      If I knew it was a knock off then that’s fine, but if I don’t then…

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is interesting… A few years ago, I bought one of those Nutri Bullet food processors here and have happily used it ever since. By chance, I recently happened to see this TV show on Fake Products and what should pop up but the Nutri Bullet. The show outlined in detail the marks that should appear on the back of the ‘real thing’ (i.e. Health and Safety etc) and they warned (and even demonstrated with one that burned up in front of our eyes) of the dangers when a machine does not have those H & S marks – and especially when putting certain items in for processing. Guess what ? sure enough, my Nutri Bullet had none of the safety marks – which according to the show, means it is a fake.
    Essentially, they warn people who have identified fakes, not to leave them running unattended even for a minute – in order that they can easily unplug them or have a fire-extinguisher ready in case something goes wrong.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This issue has to be consumer driven. If you name and shame the vendors in Cayman that are selling this crap, then hopefully their sales will be impacted thus putting pressure on them to ensure that they stand behind their merchandise.

  16. Ironside says:

    I would take it back to the grocery store where you purchased these suspect items and have a 1:1 with management. Let them compare their products you purchased to same brand/model that you believe is legit. Take a stand, be professional about it and I believe you’ll come out ahead. You can also never shop at suspect stores or at least don’t purchase certain items that you believe are counterfeit.

    Now, do not put it pass any retailers to not import from other locations nearby, specifically South America. There are regional specific brands from the big players and they only allow purchasing from these regional suppliers/partners if you are here and want to sell their products in your store. Hardly a choice available anymore to purchase Direct from the supplier (costs are usually higher) or even purchase choices from a USA-Florida/Georgina suppliers. You’re usually directed to any regional partnership suppliers that a lot of the companies have setup or are associated with. Usually they own the supplier outright.

    Could it be possible the products you mentioned that are suspected counterfeit be of inferior quality versus same brand purchased from the USA/elsewhere because of where they’re shipped to outside the USA or even when the manufacturer makes products in other countries? Of course! I’ve experienced same questionable quality with a variety of products, but never to the level you’re experiencing.

    Like I said above, Take them back to where you purchased them and show them where you’re unhappy with the quality compared to other version purchased elsewhere. I would update CNS if you do pursue this avenue, an informed public is an educated public!

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is a trademark issue, not copyright. The fact that Customs doesn’t know the difference and is unconcerned about the possibility of fraud is probably something that should concern people. One thing you can do is write or email the real manufacturer/trademark owner and send them your evidence. Some manufacturers are very interested in fighting this kind of thing. Your experience could be just the tip of a much larger iceberg that could motivate a manufacturer to take action.

  18. Tom says:

    Then don’t buy cheap stuff!

    • Anonymous says:

      Bought the dish soap at one of the supermarkets, wasn’t on sale, the garbage bags were purchased at a bulk store so it wasn’t like I went to the dollar store.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is a tough one. Even Amazon can’t handle it yet. I don’t buy anything on Amazon that can be remotely counterfeited. At least you can send it back to Amazon.
    I would rather buy directly from the manufacturer’s website or go to a store and pay extra $$, than end up with fake goods.