The main issue is the consumer has the benefit of choice. A product may be counterfeit. But it may be as good as or better than the original. The customer is in no position to ascertain the true value of the product unless he buys it.
However, his unethical belief may be product-specific. He may or may not be willing to test counterfeits of each and every product. For instance, clothes. The fashion business is highly fluid in the matter of originals and counterfeits (Ha, Sejin & Lennon, Sharron, 2006). Depending on the government's strength and the rule of law prevalent in the region, the consumer's reliance on counterfeits may be rewarding or counterproductive and the question of ethics does not bother the consumer because he has paid for the goods even if it is counterfeit (Tatnall, Professor Arthur, 2008).
Consumer's belief and attitude rotates around the single, dominant factor that he is paying for the product and hence it does not matter if the product is counterfeit. If the counterfeit provides him with as much or better services than the original, his purchase of such goods does not bother him at all on the matter of ethics.
It is true that an informed society is more tolerant of unethical belief. It also has a higher anti-business attitude because there is greater awareness of what is going on in big business houses. Big business houses have problems with ethics (Friedman, Hershey H et al, 2008, p38). They make choices between the greater evil and the lesser evil in the regular course of their business. This does not get reflected in their balance sheets or profit and loss account. They have to gloss them over.
With globalization and use of the information technology, large (and even small) business houses make no bones about dubious business practices. The original manufacture too deigns to resort to counterfeiting to realize cost and other benefits. The practice is too ingrained and enmeshed between the original and the counterfeit to separate one from another. Nothing is lost in the process except consumer's cynicism and respect for the original (Decker, Melissa A, 2004, p6).
In the ultimate analysis, it is difficult to hold on to ethics and do business at the same time. By our view of ethics, we even blame the Almighty for committing many blunders. Also, the different shades of ethics do not have the same order of value in the eyes of different individuals. The world highly differs in ethical standards between individuals. Business must serve its own interests, setting the best examples in the process. Sometimes, their choice may not appear morally correct. Technically, however, business may not have committed any offence. Nonetheless, if the consumer is unhappy with a company's stance, it will result in anti-big business attitude (Sender, Katherine, 2002).
Consumers with more tolerant of unethical belief will have lower social cost of counterfeit attitude
If the consumer takes social cost into account, he will not be able to make use of his freedom of choice. The