Online mall protects against fakes

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Online mall protects against fakes

The government has officially launched an online shopping mall where the intellectual property rights of non-exclusive imported products are authenticated to protect customers from counterfeiters.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Korea Customs Service on Friday said it has opened Alramm Mall (www.alramm.com), though it has been in test operations since October.

The online shopping mall provides one-stop services that allow shoppers to purchase products, authenticate them and even request repairs.

“Alramm Mall is a shopping mall that only sells imported products by non-exclusive companies that have received customs approval, which allows consumers to purchase products without having to worry whether they are counterfeits or not at a bargain price,” a customs agency official said.

“The main purpose of the website is to step up the integrity of the parallel import market.”

Since 2012, the Korean customs agency has been operating a system that certifies imported goods that have undergone legal approval. Detailed information, including the time the product was approved by the customs agency as well as the importers’ identification, can be accessed via a smartphone using the QR code on the product.

According to the customs agency, 12 importers are participating in the online shopping mall. The Trade-related IPR Protection Association (TIPA) under the Korea Customs Service scans the importer, and a private company, Aram Korea, manages the website.

The agency said customers can also get repairs on the products through 18 companies that have a contract with TIPA and apply for it on the website.

Imported products from non-exclusive contractors have recently gained popularity, especially since they are cheaper, and in some cases, the ordering process is less complicated than purchasing goods directly from major overseas online shopping malls like Amazon.com.

The weakening Korean won against the U.S. dollar has added to the cost of imported goods.

The Korea Consumer Agency added that complaints concerning overseas purchases doubled from 2,781 in 2014 to 5,613 last year.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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