In the current market scenario the menace of counterfeit / duplicity seems to be all pervasive. Sonata, India's leading watch brand, has taken up the task of protecting its consumers' rights — by undertaking an active and effective campaign to stop counterfeiting.
Due to Sonata's highlighting of the problem to the local authorities and police, the police have conducted a series of sting operations in 12 locations across the length and breadth of the country — Ranchi, Muzzafurpur, Faridabad, Nanded, Kolkata, Bareilly, Ludhiana etc. This has led to the seizure of thousands of watches and components and 21 persons have been arrested. It is believed that such actions by competent authorities will greatly benefit customers as well as a large portion of the dealer community — who otherwise are being impacted by the illegal acts of a few parties.
Titan Industries, which owns the Sonata brand, has been making several representations to the competent authorities, along with other members of the watch industry. They are supporting the local police in several parts of the country with evidence, for them to conduct raids and ensure that the strictest action is taken against the counterfeiters so as to discourage other erring dealers from indulging in such manipulations. This is just the beginning of the "buy genuine" campaign and will be carried to other parts of the country too, wherever such fake watches are available, to ensure that the customer is never cheated and he gets to buy what he intends to.
In addition, Sonata has also launched a national consumer awareness campaign driven through a poster campaign that informs consumers about the guidelines to be followed while purchasing a genuine brand watch.
The ugly fall out of the thriving counterfeit business is the fact that apart from the huge revenue loss that the government faces, there are other problems that a reputed brand faces, viz, erosion of its brand value / proposition, creation of an uneven playing field, choked R&D efforts, inhibited cost efficiencies that ultimately limit choices and create a poor image for the industry as well as brands. This has a direct and significant impact on the topline of the organised watch industry which consequently then leads to a substantial loss to the Indian exchequer due to excise and tax evasion.
Also, it goes without saying that the consumers face the greatest brunt of the problem since they are the ultimate losers, because they are forced to buy a product that is of a lower standard/grade. The consumer suffers with a poor quality product, which has limited longevity thereby leading to further losses for the consumer in the long run. In simple terms, he has been cheated.
The company has issued the following guidelines to help consumers: