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How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:42 am
by Konsi
Hello,

I am at the moment trying to build a road bike on a student budget, so looking for second hand/B-stock/sale parts. But with handlebars, stems, saddles, I become more and more wary if the things on offer are actually real products or counterfeit. I am not talking about obvious "Chinarello" parts with fake names, but something which is on sale on craigslist, ebay, and the like, for a good, but not unreasonable price, but seems a bit off. I have no problem with used parts, or parts developed and produced in China, but I don't want to support IP-law violations.

Example: https://www.ebay.de/itm/3-T-Aeronova-UD ... SwvGdbl-fO
3T Aeronova Team bars, they are offered as B-stock for 30% less than the cheapest price found with a large online trader (bike24, TNC).
Why am I reluctant? As far as I know and can tell on photos, the regular Aeronova Team (not stealth) are always glossy, not matte, while this one is advertised as matte. Also, the reviews of the seller have several mentions of products being shipped directly from China.

What do you think about it? Are there good general rules how to spot and avoid buying counterfeit products, especially when something is not offered as new?

Best regards

Konstantin

How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:42 am
by Weenie

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:20 am
by AJS914
I will pretty much always suspect parts on ebay with too good to be true prices.

I'd take a chance on a saddle but not bars or stem.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:49 am
by micky
Im not an expert in this field, but there are a few products that get counterfeit and if I need to buy I always opt for real shops.
One simple test is check if the product you're interested in is listed on aliexpress and that set the alarm on.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:04 am
by AJS914
Konsi wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:42 am
Example: https://www.ebay.de/itm/3-T-Aeronova-UD ... SwvGdbl-fO
3T Aeronova Team bars, they are offered as B-stock for 30% less than the cheapest price found with a large online trader (bike24, TNC).

A big clue is looking at that seller's feedback and the other things they are selling. Their feedback really looks like a Chinese seller. Even one of the feedbacks says 'it was supposed to ship from Germany but came from Asia'.

Don't forget that aluminum bars are more durable than carbon, much cheaper, and don't really weigh much more.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:18 am
by Shrike
Some brands have QR codes on the inside. FSA for example. Maybe it’s common practise now, worth asking 3T.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:31 pm
by Kumppa
3T bars also have some stickers on inside of both bar ends.

I wouldn't buy any big and most counterfeit brands ex. 3T or Bontrager products from ebay if the seller don't have receipt / it's not real shop / not much feedback.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:11 pm
by Konsi
For this case I contacted 3T and they confirmed that it is fake. They send me an internal PDF with other possible hints at fake bars (and I asked them if I can share it here).

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:13 pm
by Konsi
Kumppa wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:31 pm
3T bars also have some stickers on inside of both bar ends.
According to 3T, bars with stickers have been produced before 12/2016, newer ones have a laser-etched serial number.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:15 pm
by Konsi
AJS914 wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:04 am

Don't forget that aluminum bars are more durable than carbon, much cheaper, and don't really weigh much more.
Unfortunately, the 3T Aeronovas are half the price and half the weight in carbon compared to alloy. That is kind of in the ballpark where it might be worth going for carbon for me.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:48 pm
by Maximilian
My general rule if thumb is "if its too good to be true it probably it". Same goes for a cheap price though there are some genuine deals to be had

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:40 pm
by Konsi
Too good to be true is often a difficult line to walk on. I bought a whole Santana tandem for about 350 Euros used (but they didn't know what they were selling and I even offered them more money because it felt unfair). So other criteria can be helpful.

3T allowed me to share the PDF they have made about fake Aeronovas, so here it is (I didn't make the typos in it): http://konsi.net/intern/WW/Tech_Bulleti ... ronova.pdf

They were super quick in responding to my email about a specific eBay posting, so it could be worth asking them in doubt. I had a similarly good experience with Specialized (about shoes), Katusha Cycling (about clothes) and Suplest never replied.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:49 pm
by AJS914
Unfortunately, you just can't trust random sellers on ebay, aliexpress, or Amazon. The stuff is too easily faked. Even stickers and bar codes can be faked.

With mission critical parts like bars and stems I'll only buy from legit sellers. If I saw a jersey or bibs I liked on ebay I might take a chance because a bad fake jersey can't hurt me.

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:49 pm
by Weenie

Re: How to spot counterfeit/fake products?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:22 pm
by Maximilian
There are certainly deals to be had; like your tandem and my Mavic CC80s I bought years ago. When it comes to eBay I have more trust auctions by those who a private individuals more than I do "Buy it Now" listings by sellers with many many products. I'm not sure if that approach has any truth to it but its been OK so far.