UNIVERSAL Fitness and Leisure Sdn Bhd (UFL) has launched its public awareness campaign to tackle the problem of counterfeit manufacturing and distribution of Deuter products.
UFL, which is the exclusive agency holders of the famous German backpack brand, came to this decision after running an unofficial investigation and concluded that fake backpacks are being peddled in the local outdoor market and sold to customers as authentic Deuter products.
During a press conference at Wisma UFL in Sri Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, UFL managing director Datuk Radha Krishnan explained that the problem of imitation bags has been occurring for the past five years but grew rampant in the last two years.
“Our main objective is to drive awareness and educate the consumer on the benefits of owning an authentic Deuter product as opposed to a counterfeit one,” said Radha Krishnan.
“Deuter is a world-recognised backpack brand. We need to ensure that consumers who are buying this know that they are buying a world-recognised product which is of good quality.”
Further compounding the problem was the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the depreciation of the ringgit, which has affected the sales of sports companies.
“Malaysia is a big market for Deuter in South-East Asia,” he said, adding that it was important to protect the market and prevent the availability of counterfeit products from escalating.
Radha Krishnan added that consumers can identify authorised dealers through the Deuter “Be Genuine” Authorised Dealer sticker displayed in their stores.
Consumers are urged to make a report if imitation goods are being sold in stores with these stickers.
He added that while the price of imitation Deuter bags are 30% to 50% lower than the original, the latter is longer lasting.
“We have sponsored many expeditions involving local athletes who require Deuter products.
“I strongly urge our government and relevant ministries to step up efforts to put an end to the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit products to benefit local athletes as these are the tools needed to achieve their goals,” he said.
Radha Krishnan used gardening shears to cut a fake Deuter backpack to get the message across.
Also present were UFL chief operations officer Theresa Leong, executive director Datuk Malek Noor, general manager of product development Ahmad Termizi Mahmud and marketing head Vikram C. Mogan.
In line with the campaign, UFL announced a national exchange sales programme where buyers of counterfeit Deuter products can exchange and buy an original Deuter product and receive a 30% discount.
For a list of authorised Deuter dealers, visit their Facebook page at UFL – Universal Fitness and Leisure or Deuter.
For details, visit www.ufl.com.my.