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Apple finds 90% of its accessories sold on Amazon are fake; sues main manufacturer

By midian182 ยท 34 replies
Oct 20, 2016
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  1. You would imagine that buying Apple products such as chargers or cables from Amazon would mean you’re getting the real thing, but it seems that’s not always the case. According to a lawsuit filed by the iPhone maker, 90 percent of Apple power accessories found on the retail site are fake, even those labeled as genuine.

    Patently Apple reports that the Cupertino company is suing US-based firm Mobile Star LLC for trademark infringement, alleging that it has been selling counterfeit goods using Apple logos and product images in its listings.

    Apple states in the lawsuit that, so far this year, it has bought more than 100 Apple-branded products from Amazon, such as "iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables,” 90 percent of which turned out to be fake. Mobile Star is reportedly responsible for the “majority” of these items.

    Buying one of these fakes doesn’t just mean you're missing out on an authentic Apple product, you could also be putting yourself at risk. Apple says they’re often poorly built with inferior or missing parts, flawed designs, and inadequate electrical insulation. Meaning they have the potential to cause fires or even “deadly” electric shocks.

    Apple argues that its reputation is damaged when consumers buy these products. The company is seeking an injunction against Mobile Star selling any more of the fake goods, destruction of all counterfeit items, and damages of $150,000 for alleged copyright infringement and up to £2 million for trademark infringement.

    When Apple alerted Amazon to the fake Mobile Star products, the retail giant handed over all the stock purchased from the company. Amazon said it “has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.”

    Just remember: if you find something that seems too good to be true when shopping online, it probably is.

    Permalink to story.

  2. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Evangelist Posts: 328   +321

    When you can buy a $1 to $5 charging cable that is sold and ships from China what do you expect? If you think Amazon is bad then you should check out eBay!
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,173   +3,777

    I think the bigger problem for Amazon is that it comingles inventory. If a company sells a product that it says is a real apple product and looks like it then Amazon groups it all together with the real product. No such thing exists on ebay.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,960   +2,293

    It's all Chinese junk anyway. Nothing about Apples accessories makes them worth the exorbitant prices they are asking. If anything, the large price they're asking just opens them up to mass counter fitting. Some Counter fits come out of the same factory, some don't. Essentially, Apple created a black market around their products because Apple.
  5. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Evangelist Posts: 328   +321

    That and the 3X normal price Apple tax they charge.
    alabama man likes this.
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +699

    Not entirely. Every time I've seen a tear down of a Apple charger or cable, I've always been impressed with the parts list. They're using capacitors and resistors with low deviation values, from good companies, and the circuit layouts are clean and thoughtful.

    I don't have any Apple products, I have no interest in buying any Apple products, but I do respect solid electrical engineering when I see it.
  7. fps4ever

    fps4ever TS Evangelist Posts: 328   +321

    Agreed but were not talking about quality but price, at least I wasn't. Apple markup is like no other except maybe Monster cables and couple others. You can get quality at a fair price.
    alabama man and Raoul Duke like this.
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,695   +4,033

    I have brought this to Amazon's attention on a number of cases but they simply shrug it off with the old excuse "let the buyer beware".. I have recently wrote to the Attorney General of the US since Amazon is doing business anywhere there is a computer, but so far no response. Appears they may have some "inside" connections to our so called Department of Justice .....
  9. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,834   +436

    Combines inventory? Yes, this is a problem. But you should also be able to look at the seller, if it's sold by and ships from Amazon, you can pretty much return it without question, especially if its counterfeit. If its shipped by Amazon, it can still be sold by a 3rd party. Then you need to look at their feedback, and not necessarily the reviews because as you mention, the reviews can reflect authentic product and fake products when under the same listing, just sold by different 3rd party sellers.

    However, on eBay, I think you are even LESS likely to find authentic products, that, and then your return process may be subject to the sellers policies, and thus could potentially be more difficult to return a counterfeit. This "grouping" may not exist on eBay, but this comment doesn't really help your point.

    I would still say you are safer to buy from Amazon, either way. IMO

    And yRaz, I'm not usually rude and feel like I have to make corrections but its "counterfeiting." I just noticed you made the same typo more than once. In all respect! I do agree with your comment though, higher priced accessories may be a bigger target for counterfeits.
  10. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,135   +1,218

    You may be right, but I would rather believe that they just pay much more attention to someone who buys 'genuine' and finds it is not and suffers a 'loss' as a result. My guess is that you have rarely (if ever) been snookered.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,198   +2,481

    I would not be surprised if Amazon is under the DOJ microscope already. If not there, then perhaps some state AG. For the most part, I have stopped buying from Amazon. I will buy from highly rated sellers on Amazon, though. There are other online stores out there that offer better deals than Amazon with free, two-day shipping. Amazon's free shipping, IMO, has become a joke. Amazon waits days to ship the item (claiming that they are scheduling shipment to make it the most efficient when if you pay for shipping it ships almost right away) then they send it via the cheapest and slowest possible means.

    On top of that, their search results return a lot of cr@p so that one must be always "buyer beware."
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,198   +2,481

    It is not only that crApple charges outrageous prices for its products, but it used to be that they charged a royalty to manufacturers for employing crApple tech in their products - for example, making a charging cord with the crApple connector for crApple products like iPads, etc. So on both the producer and consumer ends of the market, they have brought this on themselves. In reality, this article may be better titled "crApple sues manufacturer for not coughing up royalties." IF there is a settlement, that settlement will likely involve the manufacturer in question coughing up royalties.
    Athlonite likes this.
  13. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +309

    Counterfeiting is at its worst. My friend recently purchased a Windows 7 Ultimate CD that ended up being phony. Fortunately, Amazon refunded him.
  14. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,935   +722

    Speak for yourself, but everything I have purchased from Amazon in the last few weeks has shipped either same day or next day and is here within two days. Just this week I ordered two items on Sunday night, one shipped Monday and I had it Tuesday, the other shipped Tuesday and I got it today. Both items we're under the $35 minimum for free shipping so I paid $3.49 each, not a lot of money all things considered. When I do qualify for free shipping the processing and shipping times are the same, two weeks ago I made a purchase over the minimum for free shipping and I got it two days later, couple weeks before that it was the same thing, ordered one day received two or three days later.

    As for the Apple situation, is anyone really surprised? They're the most counterfeited brand globally, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
  15. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,164   +1,416

    Duh, Apple... Duh! Has anyone ever bought a 3rd party smartphone accessory that WASN'T fake on Amazon? Understand that when you pay 50% less it's for a reason.
  16. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,198   +2,481

    It has been a while since I ordered anything directly from Amazon because of experiences like those I mentioned. However, I complained to them about this lackadaisical approach to shipping, and told them I'll go elsewhere if they keep it up because I did not think that it was a good way to treat loyal customers. This started to happen to me after I dropped my Prime membership. Maybe they had others complain, too, and it convinced them they were on the wrong track. Maybe I'll order something from them again; however, with your feedback, it will be easier to discern what is going on. Were you ever a Prime member?
  17. dylannnnnn

    dylannnnnn TS Rookie Posts: 19   +14

    Maybe Apple shouldn't charge $25 for a genuine cable that has design flaws, lack of electrical insulation and breaks after 6 months.

    Pretty easy to see why you would buy the $2 alternative when you end up with the same flawed products.
    Athlonite, avoidz and alabama man like this.
  18. Amazon Canada has always treated me very well.
    As far as counterfeits go, often they are not significantly cheaper and are 'bagged and tagged' to look authentic. You may have never seen the 'genuine' article before so I'm guessing it would take the oem to determine its authenticity
    FWIW these counterfeits really piss me off. You save to buy some nice stuff and I guess due to the global economy and worldwide shipping etc, you can end up with a counterfeit. so many companies now have to implement things to try to slow down the rampant counterfeits. Maybe a public flogging or a tar and feathering would be appropriate for those caught making these goods..before they go to jail
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,175   +4,121

    Wouldn't it be ironic if Foxconn were the company making the fakes? Oh sure, I can hear you calling me "conspiracy theorist" from here. Still in all, aren't they the ones with the molds, drawings, and specifications?
  20. LexGoyle

    LexGoyle TS Rookie

    It only matters when someone labels it as genuine when it's not. Otherwise it's merely 3rd party and 3rd party is rarely a serious problem especially in the realm of accessories like cables, cases, etc.
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  21. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,935   +722

    No, I'm not a Prime member, it's sad to think you were and still got such poor service. I honestly don't see the point in being a Prime member if I'm already getting the service I'm getting. I'm use to ordering stuff from China so getting things same week is more than adequate for my needs.
  22. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 946   +523

    I would guess Mobile Star LLC are just the biggest counterfeiter in the US. The Chinese sellers on Amazon must sell much higher quantities of fakes but Apple can't sue them.

    I happily use Amazon UK. I only look elsewhere when the cost of shipping is prohibitive. I also consider 3rd party products when they are cheaper and maintain good quality according to reviews. In general, I'd have to say that I never buy accessories from the main manufacturer - they are way too expensive. There are always plenty of good quality accessories (eg. cables, laptop batteries, printer cartidges) available from other manufacturers if you are prepared to look around. Then again, I don't own any Apple products.
  23. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,834   +436

    I have gotten fantastic service from Amazon.com, as a Prime member. I once ordered a set of high end (gaming) PC setup. Everything but the case, Amazon didnt have it. Anyways, no package found and it said something strange like "Left message with business, no reply" and never found a package. I was really upset I would lose out around $600 bucks. I sent Amazon an email, no questions asked they reimburse the money to my bank account. Of course, I'm happy this was one of those very rare occasions I have not received a package. It's happened a total of 3 times now I think, and for each one, either Amazon.com covered it or the seller that sold it to me through Amazon. There are other benefits to being a Prime member than just 2-day shipping, and more than I mentioned in this post.
  24. AshtonAsh

    AshtonAsh TS Rookie

    Once Amazon sent me a fake accessories. I find that if they sell not original things, they should note it.
  25. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,834   +436

    If they note it, then it's illegal because they are aware of it.

    Just need to read the reviews, buy directly from amazon (not a seller using amazon) of you are in doubt. Amazons return policy is easy and no questions asked.
    AshtonAsh likes this.

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