Beware of cheap knock-offs like the fake Apple store

The recent discovery of a fake Apple store in China draws attention to counterfeit or knock-off items, such as this fake Rolex watch. Note the "Q" where an "O" should be. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Reports have exploded in the press about a fake Apple store in China that is a near carbon copy of real Apple stores. Though it is an aggressively brazen act of replication, there is a large black market of knock-off consumer products.

Fake store just part of an entire line of iRipoffs

There has been a lot of coverage over the past few days of the fake Apple store in China. The store was called “Apple store,” according to ABC, and the store in Kunming was very difficult to distinguish from a real Apple store. Employees wore uniforms with the Apple logo, and Apple posters were on the wall. The decor was the same as real Apple stores, and some employees believed they worked for Apple until an American blogger revealed the store on her blog and pointed out that Apple never uses the phrase “Apple store.” Apple simply puts its logo on its stores. Apparently, this problem is more widespread than many realize. More fake Apple stores are being found worldwide, according to Reuters, including rumored bogus Apple stores in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Vietnam and Colombia.

A ruse by any other name

There are plenty of knock-offs, replicas and reproductions that look like the genuine article, such as purses, sunglasses, shoes and other items. However, a surefire way to tell if something is genuine or not is to look at the brand name and the labeling. If there is a misspelling, a font doesn’t look right or anything there’s anything else suspicious about the label, chances are it’s fake. For instance, a photo collage posted on Geekologie in 2009 shows Pmua, Daiads (an Adidas knock-off) and Cnovesre shoes, a Nire swoosh and Sunbucks coffee. In China, there is an entire industry devoted to making knock-off products, referred to as “shanzai,” according to Time. For half the cost of the real product, one can purchase an iPed if they can’t stomach the sticker price on an iPad, or get a HiPhone. The website has products for sale, including an aPad, a tablet that runs Android 2.1 and retails for $180.

Knock-offs can be hazardous

Though many knock-offs and replicas are fairly well made, there are some dangerous rip-off brands. Because there isn’t exactly a lot of regulation where these products are made, it’s impossible for consumers to know what they are buying when they buy a knock-off. For instance, according to Daily Finance, the Canada Goose company, which makes a line of high-quality down coats, found knockoffs that contained down mulch. Down  mulch contains some down feathers but also contains ground up chicken parts, fecal matter and bacteria. The company also found the some parka hoods were lined with fur from a German Shepherd. Counterfeit goods, according to Wikipedia, are a $200 billion-plus per year industry. Many counterfeit goods are illegal and are produced and sold by organized crime groups.







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