Travel guide

When shopping abroad

Before you are tempted to buy a cheap counterfeit or pirated product when traveling abroad, it is worth noting that the rules for buying fakes differ from country to country. There are limits to how much you are allowed to bring home to Denmark.

Give it a second thought before buying a fake product abroad

For many people a holiday involves relaxation, eating out - and also shopping! It is not unusual to be met by street vendors, who always have a good offer, or you can go to one of the local markets, which are overflowing with colorful products such as scarves, bags, watches and electronics of all sorts. They have it all – and at a price that can be difficult to resist. But be aware that in many cases, the products are fakes.

A product is counterfeit or pirated when someone has intentionally and closely copied someone else’s trademark or product. The purpose of the replica is that you, as a consumer, are deceived to believe that you are buying the original. Manufacturers of counterfeit and pirated products are becoming increasingly professional, especially when you are at a market and do not have the originals to compare with.

Earlier, most fake products were luxury products such as expensive handbags, but today almost all product types are falsified – from toys, batteries and perfume to medicines.  

We would like to help you avoid counterfeit and pirated products. Check out our checklist for shopping.

See also the 6 good reasons to buy genuine.

If, however, you choose to buy counterfeit products when traveling abroad, it is a good idea to know the rules for purchasing counterfeit products in the country in which you are traveling. You should also be aware that there are rules on what you are allowed to bring home to Denmark. Read more below.

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Each country's own rules

Some European countries have strict legislation for consumers’ purchases of counterfeit products. This could also affect you as a tourist. Therefore, you should look into the rules for buying counterfeit and pirated products in the country you travel in.

Know the rules of the country you are traveling in

Although in some cases it can be legal to bring home counterfeit and pirated products from a trip abroad, please note that in some countries, it is illegal merely to possess a counterfeit product, even if the product was not bought for the purpose of resale. You e.g. risk getting a fine.

Several European countries have introduced zero tolerance when it comes to buying counterfeit products - also for consumers. In some countries, counterfeit products are seized regardless of value or quantity. You may be stopped during the purchase, or right after, and you may also be stopped at the airport on the way home.

You should therefore look into the rules for counterfeit products in the country you are traveling to. This also applies if you have a stopover in another country on your way home. If you are in doubt, you can seek help and guidance from European Consumer Centre Denmark.

At (in Danish) you can read more about what to take into account when shopping on a trip abroad.

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What to bring home to Denmark

If you are considering bringing home counterfeit products to Denmark, you should be aware that they must be for private use only.

When is it illegal to bring home counterfeit and pirated products?

It is not illegal to bring home counterfeit and pirated products, if they are for private use. However, if the counterfeit and pirated products are for commercial use, it is illegal to bring them into Denmark. It is always an individual assessment whether the products are bought for private or commercial use. In this respect, it is immaterial whether the products are bought within or without the EU. It is also irrelevant if it was legal to produce, market or buy the products in the country where you bought them. 

Although it is not illegal to bring home counterfeit or pirated products, there are many good reasons to choose the genuine product instead. Read more here.

What are you allowed to bring home from outside the EU?

The Danish Customs Agency shall detain goods arriving into Denmark from countries outside the EU if they are suspected of being counterfeited or pirated.

For travelers returning to Denmark from a non-EU country by plane or boat, there is an exception, if you in your personal luggage carry counterfeited or pirated goods that you have bought abroad for private use. The exception means that the Danish Customs Agency will not detain the counterfeited of pirated goods, if the following conditions are all met:

  • The value of the goods does not exceed 430 € (DKK 3,250). The value is the documented price of the goods.
  • If you have arrived from a non-EU country, via another EU country, and from there you have entered Denmark, you must be aware that the value limit is 300 Euro (DKK 2,250).
  • The goods must not be for commercial use. In assessing whether the goods are of commercial nature, the Customs Agency may, among other things, emphasize the number of identical / uniform goods and whether the goods appear to be suitable for resale. If the customs authority considers that the goods are for commercial use, the goods can be detained in order to determine whether they are counterfeited or pirated.

This means that if the counterfeited or pirated goods appear as bought for resale, they can be detained even, if the total value does not exceed the value limits mentioned above.

Read more about these rules on ""Have your products been detained by customs?"

What can you bring home from within the EU?

It is legal to buy counterfeit products and bring them home, if they are purchased for private use.

Consumer products purchased in another EU country for private use are not charged customs duties or VAT. This also applies to counterfeit products. More guidance is available on the customs rules on the Danish Customs Agency's website (in Danish).

Special rules apply to medicines purchased abroad

Among the conditions for importing medicines into Denmark the medicine must have been purchased legally. For more information on the import of medicine by private persons, please visit the website of the Danish Medicines Agency. It is a good idea to look into these rules if you want to avoid having your medicine detained by the customs when arriving in Denmark.

Please note that in some countries it is illegal merely to possess a counterfeit product, even if the product was not bought for the purpose of resale. Read more here


Are you in risk of getting a counterfeit product you bought online destroyed if the Customs Authority detains it?