An Aussie traveller returning from a trip to Bali has inadvertently exposed a little-known law that tourists are frequently breaking when they travel to the Indonesian holiday hot spot.
"Beware at customs in Australia, the new law is only three fake bags," the woman mistakenly claimed in a Facebook post, which included photos of over a dozen counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags, purses and wallets purchased in Bali for as little as $5 to $10 each.
"We were very lucky to keep these as they thought I was selling," she wrote and continued, "Had to prove we had nine kids, 18 grandchildren and three great grandchildren." The woman also clarified she was travelling with four other people at the time.
Some fellow travellers who reacted to the post were surprised the woman had been questioned by customs, with several admitting they'd never had any issues bringing knock-offs into Australia before.
"I just brought back 75 bottles of perfume and 150 tops in packets and they never questioned me at all," someone commented, while other users added they'd never heard of the supposed new law but were nonetheless unsurprised the woman's haul caught attention. "That is a really big amount. No wonder they thought you were selling," one person remarked.
What surprised other members was the fact that fake luxury goods were being allowed into Australia in the first place. "I was under the impression that you can't bring any fake bags home. I know everyone does but I thought it wasn't allowed."
What the law really says
The author of the original post claimed she was informed by customs that travellers are allowed to bring a maximum of three counterfeit bags into Australia, however this is not the case according to the law.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has seized fake luxury handbags in the past, with one high-profile case involving a 31-year-old Tasmanian woman who was intercepted for trying to bring in 129 counterfeit bags, purses and backpacks in March 2020.
While the government authority has not responded to Yahoo's questions about the law, the ABF website clearly notes that fake designer goods are among the list of items not allowed into the country.
"Fake (counterfeit) goods including things like brand name or designer clothing, handbags, shoes, cosmetics, perfume and hair straighteners are not allowed," the ABF website reads.
The website also cites that apart from the knock-off goods being confiscated, "prosecution and large financial penalties may apply" and that there are no exceptions (although confiscation occurs at the discretion of ABF officials).
The ABF had previously mentioned that "handbags are among the most commonly seized counterfeit and pirated goods at the border, along with mobile phones and accessories, car parts and accessories, clothing, shoes, DVDs, watches and toys."
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