Lincoln Han
Header Lion Image

Opinion on consumers buying counterfeit products and counterfeit products sales in general

The consumer always has a choice: not to buy it. When it comes to fashion, people buy counterfeit because simply they are vain. There are equivalent quality items that are not brand name or pretend to be brand name could be bought for much less, but many people are so eager to own a brand name, even if it is a knockoff. It’s vanity.

The problem with counterfeit is when it is sold as authentic, at the price similar to authentic. Some counterfeits are so good now it is hard (not impossible) to distinguish from the real ones. Take Ray-Ban for example, just for one model, 20% of the listing  are selling counterfeit. The sellers may not even realize  that they are selling  counterfeit version as the imitation is very good. However, they are still inferior quality and there are some subtle differences from the original. 

When the counterfeit are good copies, it is difficult for buyers to tell, especially if the sunglasses don’t break shortly after purchase. I had a real, original Ray-Ban  3320, but I lost it. A replacement I bought on eBay
 from a seller with  many positive feedback broke few months after I purchased it.  After sending it to Ray-Ban for repair, they responded with a letter indicating it is a counterfeit and I was surprised. Considering that I actually owned a real one before that and I wasn’t even able to tell. Later, I bought another real one from a store and compared the two and saw some subtle differences. 

The issue here is that I had no reason to suspect that I was buying counterfeit. I wasn’t shopping for one. I bought from a reputable seller  who has many good feedback, and I paid about retail price, expecting to get an real Ray-Ban. Yet, despite of the fact I owned an identical model before, it still fooled me. Fortunately, the inferior material quality caused it to break and I was able to find out. After comparing again to the real one, you can see the difference in quality in that particular part.

So yes, counterfeit harms consumers who don’t even want to buy counterfeit because it taints the supply chain. Sunglasses already could be a problem as the optics could be made of glasses of low quality and risk breaking. There are also other dangerous scenarios where counterfeit electronics could fail:

In India an other developing nations, counterfeit medicine is a big issue. The counterfeit doesn’t have to pass strict quality control and could endanger the health of many people.

Furthermore, briefly change to the topic of copyright, piracy harms the author. Sure the price could best set lower according to the local economy and purchase power as Microsoft finally did in China. However, $5 DVD did not eliminate piracy completely either. DVD still offers more features and better quality audio and video than something  downloaded from iTune if we are comparing price of legitimate distribution. You often get multiple languages in subtitle and audio on a DVD movie, and that is a premium many still are willing to pay. Yet, people still buy bootleg DVD, download from P2P network, it seems that no price is low enough to discourage piracy, only enough to discourage the majority that the effort and benefit to obtain pirated product is not better than a legitimate one.
Read more counterfeit reports at I. P. Aware home page » Home » Contact

© 2014 Lincoln Han.