(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) "Chanel bag for good price", said the shopkeeper as I strolled around the Karama market. It's an offer that many girls long to hear, but in this case, it's a fraud. The bag is a fake.
So are the thousands of other bags, watches, sunglasses, belts and clothes being sold at the market - something which is illegal in the country.
Going undercover posing as a customer, I took a close look at all of the merchandise in this market. I couldn't believe my eyes - Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Mulberry bags being sold between Dh400 to Dh800. "In the malls, they're more expensive - something like Dh15,000. Here, the price is much less, madam," another shopkeeper told me, holding out a Chanel bag.
"Is this the real brand?" I asked him, even though I knew the answer. "Yes, yes," he instantly replied, urging me to buy.
I held the bag in my hands and clearly it was counterfeit. There's the smell of fake leather and the flap is slightly different from the real one. I'm a Chanel brand fanatic, so I was lucky enough to tell the difference, but anyone could easily mistake these counterfeit products as the real deal.
I walked past several stores that have similar merchandise. They were all placed on shelves and some are displayed nicely outside. The presentation of the products made the products more appealing and even appear as if they were the actual brand. A few stores down, there were shops filled with sunglasses and belts. "Upstairs we have more, madam. Come with me," the man at one of the shops said. I followed him up a very narrow staircase and into a small, claustrophobic, room upstairs. Again, I was shocked. There were boxes filled with sunglasses and different kinds of belts folded away in plastic.
"We have Ray-Bans, many different designs," the pushy salesman said. Another salesperson stood at the corner of the room, watching me silently. They did have various designs, which were being sold for Dh200 to Dh400. I was amazed and frankly a little tempted. The real ones are usually sold for well over Dh600.
"How many of these do you sell every day?" I asked in Hindi. "Lots of tourists like buying from here. Some buy boxes full of sunglasses and belts and take them back to America, where they sell them for higher price," he replied.
"Are they the real Ray-Bans?" I asked. "Yes, of course, you can see the brand name printed on the frame," the man said.
After looking at a few other counterfeit products, I say that I'm not interested in buying from this shop. I could feel the hostile vibes from both of the men as I left.
This walk around Karama market made it clear - counterfeit products are still popular in Dubai and many were knowingly, or unknowingly, purchasing them. Either way, the fake goods business seems to be booming here.