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False alarm! How to tell if you’re buying a fake accessory

Joel Willans Published by Joel Willans Fri, Nov 23

False alarm! How to tell if you’re buying a fake accessory

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63

Joel Willans Published by Joel Willans Fri, Nov 23

Congratulations! You’ve got a brand-new smartphone. And now you fancy a couple of shiny accessories to sweeten the deal – a spare battery, an extra car-charger, a sneaky new pair of headphones to replace the set you left in the gym last week. But how do you filter out the genuine products from the glut of counterfeit competitors out there? And why would you bother?

Cheap as chips

Well, first, it’s a question of quality – and the ultra-cheap price is the giveaway. Genuine products take serious development. And all that research and safety-testing is worth the effort: back in 2004, the UK’s Camden Trading Standards had to destroy £25k worth of fake car-chargers after reports that they melted during use.

Power failure

Fake batteries can contain dangerous metals like lead or mercury; dodgy circuitry can make them overheat and burn you. And the cheap price also flags up other issues: genuine manufacturers abide by minimum wage requirements and fair trading laws, and pay government tax and import duty – none of which matters to the fakers, who can churn out their low-quality units without any regard for international standards.

If that wasn’t enough, fake accessories are more likely to break and as they’re not covered by a warranty, you’re probably going to have to replace them more frequently – meaning that that nifty bargain wasn’t so much of a, well, bargain. So next time you see a 99p price-sticker slapped on the front of a Li-Ion battery, be alert!

But, price aside, how to tell the goodies from the baddies? The mobile phone industry’s guide, How To Spot A Fake Phone, has some good tips.

I Spy

Have a good look at the accessory. If you can compare it with an item known to be genuine, tiny differences are easier to spot. Watch out for poor spelling, inaccurate label printing, mistakes in the company’s logo, an illegitimate hologram. Genuine Nokia batteries with holograms should reveal four dots and the Nokia original Enhancements logo.

It’s also not unheard of for ‘Nokia’ to be misspelled on counterfeit products. Fake covers often don’t quite fit the phones they’re supposed to – see if you can try before you buy. Look at the packaging: if it’s in a plastic bag it’s unlikely to be genuine.

Say what?

Counterfeit accessories will usually advertise themselves as ‘compatible with’, ‘suitable for’ or ‘for use with’ a range of product numbers. If it says ‘will fit’ or ‘very high quality’ on the box, then the box doth protest too much! Legitimate Nokia products will specify exactly which models the accessory is for – ‘compatible’ models are fakers.

Help!

Registered manufacturers and seller offer customer support and servicing for your Nokia product. If your dealer doesn’t, there’s a good chance he’s working on the black market. Hang onto your proof of purchase and notify the authorities about the potential fake.

Had a bad experience with fakes or got any top tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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