Knockoffs of name brand merchandise arrive in the country illegally in vast numbers around the holidays, and customs agents at O'Hare have seized everything from designer handbags and sportswear to musical instruments, including a number of counterfeit guitars.
Chicago Customs and Border Protection officers at the O'Hare International Mail Facility intercept counterfeit merchandise from all over the world around the Christmas season, according to a statement from CBP.
Of the more than 50 electric and acoustic guitars seized in recent months were fakes being passed off as high-end brands such as Fender, Gibson, Taylor and Martin, according to a release. Agents work with the trademark holders to determine authenticity.
The guitars arrived in single shipments from China and were valued between $300 and $700 each.
But the confiscated instruments had "a different feel, look and sound, in addition to being of substandard quality," William A. Ferrara, acting director of CBP operations in Chicago, said in a statement.
"Our message is for consumers to purchase merchandise from a reputable company. These fake rip-off products hurt the economy, consumer health and safety, and even threaten national security," the statement said.
Beside guitars, other items seized in large quantities included handbags, footwear, designer clothing, electronics, watches, and holiday lights and cords displaying fake Underwriters Laboratory seals, the release said.
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