Nine markets and shopping centres have today joined forces in a pledge to stamp out fake and counterfeit goods being sold in the borough.
Representatives from Dudley Market; Dudley and Halesowen's Plaza Malls; Cornbow Centre, Halesowen; Brierley Hill Indoor Market; Crown Centre and Ryemarket, Stourbridge; Merry Hill Centre and Stourbridge Farmers Market are signing up to the Real Deal Charter.
By pledging, they are reaffirming their commitment that fake and other illicit goods are not welcome on their stalls or in their shops. Currently there are more than 500 markets and retail centres across the country that have signed the voluntary charter.
It provides guidance, information and support to trading standards and retail operators to ensure that markets and shops are free of counterfeit and other illegal goods. The initiative is a partnership between trading standards, market and retail operators and the National Markets Group (NMG) for Intellectual Property.
By signing up, operators have pledged to comply with a Code of Practice committing to vet all traders, have identity checks carried out on tenants and take all necessary action to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods in their markets and shops. This includes evicting tenants promptly if counterfeit goods are found.
Dudley Council’s trading standards has also committed through the charter to support the markets and traders, providing them with advice and making regular visits to monitor compliance with the charter. Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
"I am delighted that so many of our markets and shopping centres have signed up to this charter. Visitors to our markets and shops can buy knowing that what they spend their hard-earned cash on is legitimate, safe and value for money.
"Counterfeit and illicit goods are often of inferior quality and, in most cases, unsafe as they have not gone through the same rigorous safety checks that legitimate goods go through. Their sale can damage consumer confidence and legitimate businesses, because they infringe existing intellectual property rights."
For more information on the Real Deal and a list of markets and local authorities that have signed its charter, visit realdealmarkets.co.uk.