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New website to protect online shoppers from rogue retailers

A new website has been launched to help consumers avoid purchasing counterfeit goods online.

The Brand-i website (www.brand-i.org) is a free directory that enables shoppers to locate genuine online retailers stocking their desired brand.

With an estimated £82 billion being spent online on counterfeit goods, experts hope the new site will stem the increase in online fraud activity.

The move has been welcomed by the Trading Standards Institute, which claims the site will help give shoppers protection from rogue retailers.

‘You can search for a particular brand and up will come a list of authorised distributors,’ explained Andy Foster from the Trading Standards Institute.

‘You can search for a category like handbags, shoes or sunglasses and then you'll find a list of brands which sell that type of thing. Or if you are thinking of buying something from a particular site and you're not quite sure of its legitimacy, you can type it into Brand-i.’

However, Foster said the site is just ‘one check that you can make’ and shoppers shouldn't automatically assume that a site is dodgy if it isn't approved on Brand-i.

Brand-i founder, Jenny Dalton, said: ‘The idea for Brand-i was that there had to be a better way of reassuring online shoppers that the stores they were using were authentic and selling the genuine products. Our site allows consumers to find these genuine sites and avoid them taking a risk.’