Anybody could tell right away that the Louis Vuitton shoulder bag was fake because it was delivered in a recycled box that once shipped batteries.
Warnings printed on the inside of the box read: “Danger Contains Sulfuric Acid” and “Poison - Causes Severe Burns” — not the sort of messages that would normally accompany a product from one of the world's most iconic luxury brands.
But it sure looked real. It was dark brown, sported a braided strap with brass fittings and the Louis Vuitton monogramme stamped all across the bag.
I had ordered the bag from a website called www.ericwhy.com for this special report, which explores the growing problem of counterfeit merchandise sold over the Internet.
Reuters wanted to trace the problem from a consumer in Washington D.C. to the shadowy producers based in Guangzhou China, where my colleague Melanie Lee found the illicit workshops and markets. Read more here.