You might be tempted to buy bargain knock-offs while on holiday as they make cheap gifts and souvenirs for the family.

But in some countries, buying counterfeit goods is illegal and. it could mean huge fines or even jail time.

According to the European Consumer Centre (ECC), different countries in Europe have different laws when it comes to carrying counterfeit souvenirs, The Sun reports.

For example, in Italy, fines of up to $11,000 can be dished out to tourists if they use illegal vendors.

However, destinations such as Spain, Germany and Greece do not issue fines or arrests if tourists are caught with fake goods but warn them the items will most likely be destroyed.

We reveal some of the other countries that can hit you with a large bill or send you to jail for being caught with fake goods.


The Customs Code means a fine of up to twice the value of the item can be given to tourists for bringing fake goods to the country, with a maximum fine of €300,000 ($A490,000).

It can also lead to jail time of up to three years — this goes up to 10 years if part of an organised group importing fake items.

In 2012, more than 10,000 posters were distributed across France by the French National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee with the slogan: “Buy a fake Cartier, get a genuine criminal record.”


While consumers are safe from punishment if they buy fake goods via e-commerce, fines of up to €15,000 ($A24,500) can be issued for anyone bringing counterfeit items to the country.


According to the ECC: “Any person who imports counterfeit goods into the country is committing an offence.”

Tourists can be fined up to €5000 ($A8170) or jailed for a year, however fines of up to €126,790 ($A207,000) can be issued depending on the value of the items.

If the items are worth more than €250,000 ($A408,400), tourists can be jailed for five years as well.


Tourists entering Belgium with counterfeit items can be fined from €500 ($A817) to €100,000 ($A163,300) if they “infringe the rights of a holder of certain intellectual property rights”.

This can relate to pirated content such as CDs, films or fake designers using brand names to sell items.


Anyone trying to take designer items into Croatia can be fined up to €1500 ($A2450) by the Customs Office.


As one of the countries with some of the strictest laws, police are calling for legislation to make it illegal to buy fake goods.

While it is currently not illegal to buy them, tourists have been caught up in counterfeit complaints.

In 2017, a man was jailed for three days and threatened with a year in prison after mistakenly using a fake £20 note.

It isn’t just counterfeit items that can land you in trouble on holiday.

Four tourists were charged $1750 each after trying to take sand home from a beach in Sardinia. Fines of up to $5000 can be issued for people trying to steal from the beaches.

Other offences that carry large fines include eating in the street in Florence, with fines of up to $820, or walking along Cinque Terre in thongs, with fines of up to $4000.


According to UK police group Action Fraud, there are ways to check if the item you are buying is genuine:

• Check the quality and labels first. It’s easy to spot a fake as their labels have spelling mistakes or other distinguishing marks.

• If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a great deal.

• Get the trader to tell you if they provide an after-sales service, warranty or guarantee. Most rogue traders don’t.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission