Whenever you shop online, it’s always a good idea to do some research on whatever you’re buying, including the company selling it. The online marketplace is flooded with counterfeit and poor-quality products — and very often, they’re disguised to look exactly like the real thing.
Read more: Beware of sketchy retailers on Facebook
Fake Apple products being sold on Amazon
There are tons of third-parties that sell accessories for Apple devices, with many of them claiming to be the genuine products.
But what Apple recently discovered is a much bigger problem.
According to a report from Patently Apple, more than 90% of Apple chargers and cables sold on Amazon are fake. The problem? They weren’t being sold by third-parties — Amazon itself has apparently been selling fake Apple products labelled as the real thing.
Apple has reportedly filed a trademark infringement case against Mobile Star LLC, which is the company Amazon named as the primary supplier of the fake products.
Apple says Mobile Star not only illegally used the company’s trademark, but it also sold products that had not passed necessary safety tests. And considering the situation Samsung is in after the company didn’t have its batteries tested by an outside company — ensuring the safety of electronics is a big deal.
Patently Apple points out just how dangerous counterfeit products can be to consumers:
Apple recently purchased a number of Apple power adapters and charging and syncing cables (collectively “power products”) that were directly sold by Amazon.com – not a third party seller – and determined that they were counterfeit. Amazon.com informed Apple that Mobile Star was its source for the majority of these counterfeit Apple products […]
Counterfeit power products, such as those supplied by Mobile Star, pose an immediate threat to consumer safety because, unlike genuine Apple products, they are not subjected to industry-standard consumer safety testing and are poorly constructed with inferior or missing components, flawed design, and inadequate electrical insulation. These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire, and deliver a deadly electric shock to consumers while in normal use.
Read more: How to spot fake coupons online
Fake products sold by third parties, delivered by Amazon
And these aren’t the only products consumers should be concerned about.
When Amazon users buy something with the ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ tag, they assume that guarantees it will be delivered — but what it doesn’t guarantee is that the product is genuine.
Here’s how Amazon describes its Fulfillment by Amazon program: ‘With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and we pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. Best of all, FBA can help you scale your business and reach more customers.’
But what Apple’s lawsuit alleges is that the majority of products labeled genuine actually are not, according to Patently Apple.
‘Over the last nine months, Apple, as part of its ongoing brand protection efforts, has purchased well over 100 iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables sold as genuine by sellers on Amazon.com and delivered through Amazon’s “Fulfillment by Amazon” program. Apple’s internal examination and testing for these products revealed almost 90% of these products are counterfeit.’
Amazon responded that the company ‘has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site. We work closely with manufacturers and brands, and pursue wrongdoers aggressively.’
Read more: How to protect yourself when shopping online
The takeaway for you
If you’ve bought any of these products on Amazon, you may want to take them to an Apple store to find out if they’re the real thing — especially if you’ve experienced any issues like overheating.
Since any type of counterfeit product could pose safety and health risks, it’s crucial to do your homework when you’re buying items online. Do a quick search of the seller for reviews and any other feedback from other consumers.
One warning sign that a product is fake is if the price is a lot lower than what it would cost you to buy it from the official company. While things may go on sale and you may find great discounts, if a product being sold for $5 is typically $75, you should do a little research before risking a safety hazard.