Caveat Emptor is a Latin term that translates to “buyer beware” in English. This term is often used to warn tourists about specific shopping districts, particular stores, or items of sale that may cause them some kind of trouble. Although tourism is a wonderful source of income for any country, there are some people who make a business out of duping, short-changing, or otherwise preying on unsuspecting tourists. Any time you hear the term Caveat Emptor associated with a particular business abroad, it is best to avoid making purchases there.
Caveat Emptor is often used particularly to identify stores that sell counterfeit merchandise. Although there are many businesses that offer “knock-off” items that are clearly fakes, there are others that manufacture very convincing fakes and sell them as if they were the genuine articles. Of course, the best way to make sure that you are purchasing genuine goods is to make your purchases at a company store. If you are interested in a brand-name item from such prestigious fashion houses as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Armani, Chanel, or Versace, it is best to visit a location that has been opened and run by the company itself.
The term Caveat Emptor is also used to describe goods that might create problems for tourists at customs. Certain plant and animal products will not pass easily through customs and may be branded with this warning.
Furthermore, Caveat Emptor may signify goods that are, in some way, contraband in many countries and could get you into a heap of trouble with customs officials. If the item is allowed past customs officials, it still may cause problems. There are specific items that, upon crossing particular borders, will incur heavy tariffs. It is best to pay attention any time that you hear or read the term Caveat Emptor.
In order to make sure that you will not face difficulties when you go through customs, you can research the customs guidelines on the government websites of every country that you plan to visit on your trip. Of course, Caveat Emptor is not only associated with goods that can be purchased during travel. It may also refer to goods and services that are either potentially hazardous. The term may also refer to counterfeit and contraband items that are sold at home. No matter where you see the term, be sure to be cautious when making any purchases to which it has been applied.