Apple: more than 90% of "official" accessories on Amazon are fake


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/19/apple-more-than-90-of-offi.html


#2

That, and of course not litigating people who produce products made to work with theirs sans, what should be unneeded, permission.


#3

Gosh, Rob, it’s almost like you reject the cult of Shareholder Value. Aren’t you an American now? I thought this was on the test. </snark>


#4

Likely solution? They add DRM to the power cable and USB port. Then only Apple Certified products charge the devices at full speed. That makes sure consumers only buy Apple and punishes Amazon for selling knockoffs. It’s brilliant!


#5

When I’m logged in, Amazon now defaults to only showing reviews from verified purchasers. I think they recognized they have a problem but right now I don’t buy so much as a thing of bubble bath without reading the critical reviews.

It’s a bit of a hassle but after accidentally buying something that plugs into the mains but doesn’t have UL (or any other) certification, I don’t want to risk it anymore. I’ll be curious to see what other steps Amazon takes in solving the issue.


#6

I’m going to have to figure out how to change that setting, it sounds useful.

As much as I hate walmart, I’m afraid I’m a vassal of amazon, and they are really no better.


#7
Indeed, consumer reviews of counterfeit Apple power adapters purchased from Amazon.com and from the above ASIN report that the counterfeit products overheat, smolder, and in some cases catch fire:
And? My smoldering counterfeit accessories work just fine with my smoldering counterfeit "Aaple" "eyePod". Plus it's still got a headphone jack!

#8

The problem is that even if you believe that the product that you’re buying is “counterfeit”, you have no reasonable way of knowing whether it is so cheap because it was made with dangerous shortcuts, or just because they didn’t pay Apple their cut.


#9

It would be nice if there was more quality control for chargers in general though.


#10

Is there a difference in the end? Price sells over stability, it’s not as if there’s a counterfeiter known for their quality.


#11

As a person who is on the wrong end of those reviews, I would say they are pretty useless as well.

Chances are uncertified Apple accessory works just as well as a certified one.

How can a review inform you of their veracity?


#12

People have died by electrocution from counterfeit Apple chargers, so this is no laughing matter.
The problem with Amazon is they have a program called “commingled inventory” that means that even when you order a genuine Apple SKU from Amazon itself, at full price, you can still receive a fake sourced from a third-party merchant, with no disclosure of that fact. Just one of the many reasons Iget my electronics from B&H Photo:
https://majid.info/blog/amazon-counterfeits/


#13

Wait? The takeaway here is this is Apple’s fault for charging too much and licensing their intellectual property instead of giving it away for free?


#14

If Apple really believed that Amazon was aware that it was directly offering to sell counterfeit Apple products (as opposed to allowing Marketplace sellers to do so), then it would have named Amazon in the suit (there is such a thing as contributory trademark infringement).

Given that the suit in question only names Mobile Star LLC, I am guessing that this is not the case. Especially since it appears that Amazon cooperated with Apple in identifying the counterfeiter:

Apple purchased the power products identified below (ASIN B012YEWP2K) from Amazon.com and determined that they were counterfeit. Apple was informed by Amazon.com, and upon that basis is informed and believes, that Mobile Star was the source of those particular counterfeit power products purchased by Apple.


#15

I think that’s overstating it. If Apple thought they could prove might be more accurate.

Do you honestly think Amazon isn’t at least reckless as to the infringements? At this stage does it not seem to you, as it does to me, that it’s essentially part of their business policy to behave in a quite sleazy way with counterfeit, knock off, and generally dodgy products?


#16

Not for free, but for a reasonable price (not the same as cheap to be clear). I would be willing to pay… say… $8-10 dollars for a cable vs $29. But then people see a similar cable on Amazon for peanuts of course they will jump on it.

However assigning “blame” here is sort of besides the point because the issues at hand are about different things. Price gouging and lack of proper gate keeping on counterfeit items. Even without Apple in the mix Amazon still has way too many poor quality products.


#17

As long as people will buy the cheaper option, this problem will exist. The clever folks in China can make a power adapter to any price point - they build the ones that Apple sells as well as the 59 cent smokebombs.

The Apple units are very well made, but they priced themselves out of their own market. After all, a thing that converts 110VAC to 5VDC doesn’t have to be made by Apple and sold for $25 to be safe.


#18

That’s why I don’t buy accessories that are or claim to be officially “Apple” at all if I can help it. “Monoprice” is a good way to go.


#19

Monoprice baby. They sell mifi certified cables, approved by Apple, and in addition to costing 1/3 as much, they are better built and won’t fail on you the way Apple’s svelte-but-fragile ones will.

The lawsuit in question is about power supplies, which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

The best advice I have seen is to restrict yourself to used ones from ebay if you want an actual Apple power supply. You’ll save money and it almost certainly won’t be fake. If you can live with a non-apple USB charger and don’t want a used thing, get one that’s had an in-depth review including lots of graphs of power fluctuations as delivered by the charger, preferably with a teardown as well, from a website that knows everything there is to know about chargers. Good luck finding such a review - there are far too few charger geeks doing reviews and far too many chargers being sold.


#20

I have to agree with you somewhat. As a trademark attorney, I have had frequent issues with Amazon’s poor handling of trademark claims. I keep hearing that its legal systems are overwhelmed, and that legal headcount has not kept pace with growth. To which I reply – too fucking bad, hire some more attorneys, paralegals, and staffers with some of that cash.

TLDR: Not so much sleazy as lazy/cheap