Extension Cords: Only useful when they don’t burst into flames

June 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

How are counterfeiters like failed crossing guards? Neither group cares too much for safety.

There’s no question counterfeiters could care less about safety. They certainly don’t care about the safety of their workers, who in many cases are children sold into labor and forced to work tortuous hours in squalid, dodgy conditions. The counterfeiters clearly don’t care about their own safety as they try to flaunt the most talented law enforcement agencies in the world in their attempts to exploit  the world’s finest brands. But most interestingly, and this is for anyone who knows a thing or two about good business practice, they don’t care about the consumer’s safety. Literally.

We’ve seen the news items about counterfeit toothpaste containing some of the same chemicals found in anti-freeze or, in other cases, dangerous strains of bacteria. In 2006, a Canadian woman died from fake pharmaceuticals purchased online that contained lethal amounts of metals and other dangerous ‘filler’ components. And in the fall of 2008, we brought you the story about Dublin city officials shutting down a factory that was illegally producing counterfeit vodka containing levels of methanol so high that it would lead to blindness.

And if that track record isn’t filthy enough for you, now we can add another concern to the fakes list – combustible extension cords.

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, has recently requested that Congress appropriate the funds to implement the programs that were outlined in PRO-IP, or The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, that was approved under the Bush administration. One of the motivating factors, according to NEMA Board Chairman Stuart Thorn was the fact that “the domestic extension cord industry has disappeared because of unfair competition from substandard, counterfeit electrical cords that falsely contain certification marks.”

These fake models lack the correct gauge of wiring as well as an internal fuse that would normally provide over-current protection, without which the fake cords can overheat and in certain cases catch fire.

NEMA maintains a fantastic anti-counterfeiting website that monitors developments in the fight against the fake trade and is a wonderful educational resource that will keep you updated on the discovery of dangerous sham products.

Though this epidemic may span a multitude of industry groups, its effects are frighteningly similar: at some level, whether in production or consumption, counterfeiting means lives are lost.

Educate yourself and help us put an end to this senseless waste.
It would seem that while fakes are never in fashion, they’re often in flames.


ghd Warns of Counterfeit Hair Stylers

February 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Cutting edge haircare brand ghd has found that the high demand for its thermodynamic tress products and ceramic stylers has lead to imposters in the market. The North American office of ghd warns consumers that a number of fake irons bearing the ghd brand name have been circulating the market. Consumers began calling ghd’s customer service line early last year complaining that their irons, purchased on eBay, were malfunctioning. Not long after, Quebec City officials discovered thousands of counterfeit items at a local vendor, many of which were hair irons falsely labeled as ghd stylers.

The company urges consumers to use caution when buying ghd products, making sure only to patronize authorized vendors. Unauthorized locations—both on-line and in-store—may sell counterfeit ghd product at a discounted rate; these irons are not only illegal, but could potentially be harmful as they have not gone through ghd’s strict safety tests. Additionally, ghd does not offer any warranties on irons that have been purchased through unauthorized retailers and does not replace counterfeit or diverted irons.

Ghd is working with its attorneys to shut down counterfeit operations—and keep your tresses safe from damage. The company has also assembled an extensive checklist so customers are able to identify whether their iron is counterfeit or not. Also, ghd is implementing a Track and Trace system that will allow them to catch diverters—also known as vendors that funnel faulty products to unauthorized haircare retailers.

Consumers who believe that they may have purchased a counterfeit iron can call ghd’s customer service line at 877-ghd-angel (877-443-2643). To purchase official ghd product, visit their official website, or go behind the brand and get hair tips and tricks on Sephora.com.

33,000 boxes of Fake Chocolate Give Customs a Stomachache

January 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Anyone who has tried a milk chocolate Ferrero Rocher will likely want to try another. Around holiday time, the confections are popular additions to any party. But think twice before you see a box of these golden-wrapped goodies for a curiously low price at a discount store.

Experts say counterfeiting of items such as chocolate is on the rise, and there is no greater proof than the seizure of 33,000 boxes of counterfeit Ferrero Rocher’s by French customs officers in late December 2008. The bust was the biggest seizure of counterfeit ordinary food products France has seen, said Jerômé Fournel, head of French customs.

Luxury chocolatiers have good reason to be angry with counterfeiters banking on their good name—last year, shipments of fake chocolates coming from China were found to contain worms and moths. As always, buy wisely and from reputable retailers to avoid the unappetizing consequences of counterfeits.

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The Blinding Truth of Counterfeit Vodka

September 18, 2008 § Leave a comment

Dublin city officials have shut down an illegal factory producing dangerous counterfeit Spar Imperial Vodka, distributed through street vendors.

Produced in unhygienic conditions, experts say the counterfeit vodka may smell like acetone or nail varnish, and could contain potentially harmful levels of methanol, which could lead to blindness.

No recall has been issued at this time. The Food Standards Agency of Ireland warns consumers that the only legitimate route of purchase is through licensed liquor stores.
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Counterfeit Toothbrushes Pose Choking Hazard

August 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

Health Canada has seized counterfeit toothbrushes from the shelves of popular chain-store Dollarama after a complaint in July that bristles from the manual toothbrush became dislodged and stuck in one user’s throat.

Consumers with a manual Oral-B Medium toothbrush purchased at the Canadian Dollarama or requiring more information about this advisory should immediately contact Health Canada’s public enquiries line at (613) 957-2991, or toll free at 866-225-0709.

Always buy from authorized retailers. For authentic points of purchase, visit oralb.com.
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Counterfeit Cellphone Chargers Explode

August 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

Hundreds of thousands of cellphone, PDA, MP3 and game console chargers have been recalled in the European Union after they were found to be counterfeit. Authorities are warning that the faulty wiring in these chargers can lead to electrocution. Poorly wired chargers also pose a risk of overheating and causing house fires.

Last year a counterfeit charger purchased in Thailand fatally wounded a 7-year-old British boy. Officials are urging consumers to protect themselves and only purchase electronics from reputable, authorized retailers.

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