Electronic Products and Technology, ept.ca, one of Canada’s Leading Electronics websites published two articles that outline the risks of buying and using counterfeit components. The articles are Why Buy Authentic? The Case Against Counterfeit Products and Protecting Yourself from Counterfeit and Gray Market Components.
In addition to the practices and precautions mentioned in the articles, it is strongly recommended that any components that are purchased without an authentic manufacturers C of C Certificate of compliance should undergo Fraudulent/Counterfeit Electronic Parts: Avoidance, Detection, Mitigation testing in accordance with SAE Aerospace standard AS6081.
I recently read an interesting article from BGR.com on consumer electronics purchases – and how consumers may be overly confident in their ability to spot counterfeit electronic equipment. The article quotes a study from Canon USA.
I found it interesting that the survey revealed that consumers trust their instincts, but seem to lack the understanding of the possible safety risks and the true long-term costs of counterfeit consumer electronics. What was even more compelling based on the survey was that consumers seem overconfident in their ability to spot a fake, and as a result, are at risk of possible harm.
Interesting enough this recent survey by Canon reveals:
• In 2013, 12 percent of the U.S. consumers surveyed knowingly bought fake consumer electronics, while 18 percent bought them unknowingly.
• 40 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed were unaware that counterfeit consumer electronics may harm them.
• 45 percent believed that counterfeit consumer electronics do the job just as well as genuine consumer electronics
I strongly recommend that any consumer be cautious of buying an electronic product at “an affordable price” and to be leery of purchasing a product without an authentic manufacturer’s certificate of warranty/compliance or an authorized distributor’s certificate of the same. In addition, it would be a wise idea to investigate the product’s model number and serial numbers. It would be helpful to alert the manufacturer if you believe that the product you purchased is counterfeit.
Checking for the certificate of warranty/compliance and checking model numbers and serial numbers has proven very helpful in the electronic component testing industry in containing the counterfeit electronics epidemic.
A recently posted article from a UK newsletter warns of the potential dangers of counterfeit electronic parts in IT products. You can read the article here.
This is a very good article in educating the buyer on what they have to do to protect themselves from purchasing counterfeit goods.
While Probrand has developed a good five point checklist for businesses to ensure they aren’t caught up buying counterfeit goods, our company has been successful registering the warranty and checking the product’s designated serial number which can be used to track the authenticity with the manufacturer.
Registering the product and checking the serial number are great communication tools to alert the manufacturer whether there is a non-authentic product out on the market.
An article in the International Herald Tribune (Police seize counterfeit HP products) earlier this month described a police raid in Lahore that netted over 36000 counterfeit components as well as counterfeit HP ink and toner cartridges. Hewlett-Packard provided the intelligence information to the local authorities who carried out the raid. HP’s efforts remind those of us in the component testing industry that counterfeit components affect consumer products as well as aerospace and defense programs.
Many types of counterfeit inspection tests developed for the defense and aerospace industries can be adapted to the consumer products industries. Risk mitigation analyses like visual and dimensional inspection, marking permanency tests, as well as electrical and xray testing where appropriate will help uncover suspect components.
Our experience has shown that counterfeit components are manufactured all over the world, and it is often hard to tell the country of origin of a part. Efforts to contain the epidemic of counterfeit parts must continue throughout the world to insure that consumers and governments get the high quality authentic parts that they are paying for.