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

I don’t choose solely on the critical reviews but if something has 20% in 1-2 stars, it’s helpful for me to know if it’s because the color is off or if it’s because the device left a smoldering heap on the kitchen counter (see: an alarming number of name brand programmable coffee makers on the market right now ).

I don’t care if the color of a cable is off. If my kitchen wasn’t already mismatched, I would care about a color being off for an appliance. If it’s a shirt or skirt, I probably care about the color.

If it plugs into the mains and doesn’t have some kind of US recognizable evaluation, it’s a risk I don’t want to take.

Maybe yes, maybe no. I only have reviewers’ word to go on. If a seller is lying about the actual manufacturer of the item, I’m not going to trust their engineers did their jobs and their factory had good quality control.

I bought non-Apple lightning cables a few weeks ago. I read the product description carefully to make sure they weren’t making bogus claims about who made it. Then I read the critical reviews to see if people were talking about miswired cables. I bought the cables and they work fine.

I shouldn’t have to go through all that but I’m not passing up 3rd party brands. I’m just being cautious. Given the potential consequences, I’m not sure why caution would be such a bad thing.

One review usually can’t (unless it’s that guy from Google who reviews USB-C cables or someone equally dedicated lol). Two or three reviews about a coffee maker literally catching fire is a data point I have to take seriously though.

ETA: this whole post is a response but something went wrong.


The way to deal with the Amazon problem is for legitimate manufactures to stop selling through Amazon. Otterbox, Lifeproof, Apple, Nike, all of them. Then at least the consumers will know they are buying fake products.

I don’t think anyone really expects Apple to give their chargers away, but $29 for a branded charger is what they should cost IF they were wholly manufactured in the US, which they aren’t. @mindfu has it right - if another brand is mfi certified, at 80% of Apple’s price, go for it.

Not all generics are worth buying. Ken Shirrif has an excellent teardown of an ‘Apple’ laptop charger. He covers what should be inside, what really is, and points out the dangers of the fakes, which are, in short (haha):
lack of sufficient clearance between high and low voltage components (which can damage you or your device)
fakes not properly grounded (which can damage you)
poorly regulated power output (which can damage your device)

So there is real harm in thinking you are buying the real deal when you aren’t.


This. Apple can charge $30 for a USB charger at least in part because there is no way for the average customer to tell if an given 3rd party charger is safe. Theoretically UL and CE certifications help, but 1) they are widely counterfeited as well, and 2) in many cases their standards are actually not very good.


My products ARE official! I mail them out from my real office!


Absolutely. For a while I tried to get Amazon to stop listing fraudulent SD cards; small 1-4GB cards hacked to report 128-1T sizes. Never any dice. Nor would they ever connect me with someone who gave even the smallest iota of care about the subject. Every single time I reported it I was blown off. It’s complete systemic lazyness that they suffer from, and a big case of “I don’t give a shit.”


How do you get that default to work??

Too bad there isn’t also a way to filter out all the “I got this product free in return for my HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA honest HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA evalution” reviews.

1 Like

“Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”

I know several artists with shirt designs, that have been ripped off en mass and their purloined works repeatedly posted to Amazon by counterfeiters (often the same one over and over again), who would vociferously disagree with that statement.


Sounds a bit like Facebook and other tech firms dealing with people. I have exactly as much sympathy here for Amazon as I do for Facebook…

Hire some bleeding lawyers/people, do your job.

1 Like

I’d call that reckless.

Which is to me at least pretty sleazy behaviour. Be reckless of others rights in pursuit of saving dollars and improving your own bottom line.

The USB one is interesting as it’s so obvious often.

1 Like

Yes, but what constitutes ‘real’ vis-a-vis offices? I mean, is it an office just because you say it is? Does it qualify if there’s no photocopier? I think there should at least be a photocopier. And some walls, dammit. If there’s anyone here who could purport to have an ‘office’ with no walls, well, I’m talkin’ to them right now…

1 Like

I don’t know. I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s not doing it anymore (at least on the first thing I clicked on …).

Amazon banned incentivized reviews a few weeks ago.

I have never done this, since i am just a reseller and not a manufacturer, but I did receive quite a lot of messages soliciting for it. Some of it in broken English, followed by Chinese, but mostly from accounts with unsuspecting Anglo female names like “Laura” and “Carly”.

I wish somebody would do a report on the people who did this. What was their end goal? Free stuff does not seem like a huge incentive.


From what I understand, a huge part of the problem is Amazon’s commingled inventory. By default, every supplier’s stock of a product is lumped together with every other supplier’s stock of that same item. It’s a counterfeiter’s dream - as soon as your shipment is accepted by Amazon, you’ve snuck all your fakes into the legitimate supply chain.

If Amazon were serious about stopping counterfeiting, they would end inventory commingling, and then they would create a seize-and-destroy policy for all inventory that is found to be fake. (You’d have to agree to those terms as part of a seller contract.)

Even if they created something like a “manufacturer direct” program, where you could buy through authorized channels for a premium, that would be a positive step.

The fact that haven’t done either tells you what they care about most. Unfortunately, the fact that they still rake in shipping container-loads of money tells you what we consumers care about most.


Pshaw, next thing you’re going to tell me the $3 iPhone cable I bought from a hole-in-the-wall in Copacabana, Bolivia that worked 5 times (which was 3 more times than the $5 cable I bought from a nice store in the La Paz airport) before it required too much wiggling to work was a fake.

Anyways, moral of the story is make sure your backpack zippers are all zipped up before heading out.


Why are counterfeit Apple chargers even a thing?

By the time your battery runs out, isn’t the device obsolete and in need of replacement with a newer model??


it’s not a certification - it only indicates that the manufacturer/importer claims that all EU regulations are met

By that time my battery “dies” you’ve probably had three Android flagship phones explode.

I miss my old Nokia. It weighed almost nothing and the battery lasted for a week between charges; perfect bushwalking phone.

Of course, the closest it got to Smartphone abilities was a severely limited calendar function and a game of Centipede…


Yeah, the annoying thing is that differentiation only seems to occur with shitty gimmicks and other bells/whistles on Android phones (even when rooted). When I went back to Android, my phone was quickly “obsolete” from any OS updates. Replaceable batteries would be nice with Apple, and I’d enjoy having more space, but I don’t need to load my phone down with mp3s these days.

There are a couple things going on here. On one hand, Amazon is definitely being overrun by (mostly) Chinese counterfeiters. On the other, brands want to control who can sell their product, in part so that they can enforce their own pricing (MAP). “Counterfeit” therefore extends to people selling genuine products without authorization, as in retail arbitrage.

Amazon’s latest approach has been to gate major brands such that you can only sell if you can show invoices and written authorization from the manufacturer…and also, for some reason, pay them $1,000-$2,000 if your application is approved. Unfortunately this is going to drive up prices by limiting competition not only to manufacturer-approved resellers, but to those who are willing and able to dish out exorbitant ungating fees.

The Amazon marketplace originally lowered barriers for individuals to start businesses, but it’s becoming much more of a pay-to-play environment.