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How to know whether a product is original – online buying in India

Surprising amount of products both online and offline are not original.

I knew some products were fake, but it was a shock when i realised more than 50% of products in low & medium price segment are fake.

I realised this when i started sourcing products for reselling.

Some products are sold as Generic Products. These are either unbranded product from same manufacturer or a low quality copycat.

Creating counterfeit product starts with collection of raw itself. If we take LED bulbs as an example. Raw materials are available in the market like “PCB for Philips like LED bulb”, “Raw materials for syska LED Bulb etc”.

But some brands collect generic products from same manufacturer and just put their logo and name on it. But still there is some level of Quality check & material standards in place. But when it comes to counterfeit market, even if the parts are the similar, quality of parts & make quality goes down significantly.

There is first copy, second copy and third copy – which is absolutely useless crap.

I thought this is more common in the case of online products but i more surprised to know that many items in offline stores are also Counterfeit items.

Most commonly counterfeited items are in consumer electronics. Especially phone and computer accessories.

In case of Online stores, some items are non returnable. It is really frustrating when you realise that the product you received is fake and is not returnable.

To be honest it is really difficult to tell whether a seller is selling original or not. Reviews and seller ratings are clues but you cannot be sure. Following are some ways to check a online is Original or not.

Before buying – How to avoid buying counterfeit products.

Check with official website or customer support.

You can contact official customer support team even before buying a product to make sure you are buying from an official reseller or retailer. In most cases sales teams are more responsive than after sales service team. You will get an answer in most cases. You can ask another product related questions also.

Seller profile, seller rating and product reviews.

Before buying from a (Trusted )online store, you can see seller profile and rating along with product reviews. When looking for highly rated product, make sure to check number of rating or reviews. Because even if it is a 5 star rating, if only one person rated it with 5 stars, Average will be 5 Stars.

Have a look at number of seller reviews over a period of 3 months, 6 months & 1 year to see how seller performed. This feature is available on amazon. Other similar features are available on all major Ecommerce stores.

Look for any difference in spelling.

Some Products are sold with small difference in Brand Name. Read carefully and avoid such products.

Buy from official store / from brand itself.

Now almost all good brands have their own online stores. You can buy from official stores or Buy from Brand itself (as a seller)through other Ecom platforms.

It it is a big brand with dealers & official retailers across the country, feel free to visit official online stores. Because you can see the product try it & then get service from there incase of any warranty issues

Watch a video comparing fake and original.

Almost all product unboxing and review videos are available online. Some videos are available comparing original with fake one. So watch some videos before making a high stake purchase decision.

Don’t go for the cheapest option.

In most cases price is what attract customers to a copycat or counterfeit product. If someone is selling a product at very low price, that means they either want to get rid of it, it is a damaged or refurbished, or it is a fake one.

Deals offered directly from Brands can be trusted. But Manufactures/Brands decide maximum(MRP) and minimum selling price of all products(Pricing Policy to Protect a Brand).

Any reseller that sells a Good Branded product Under decided minimum price will be terminated as per contract. This is done to avoid any unauthorised discounting. Unauthorised discounting will badly affect a brand, wholesalers and it’s retailers.

So if you see unusually low price, it should be a concern.

How to spot a counterfeit product.

Compare it with original product images.

Compare some images of product you are going to buy vs Original product photos from internet. Serial numbers & logo color etc are easy to spot.

Have a close look at color, logo and stickers.

Copycat product creatures tend to do a poor job(intentionally or unintentionally) when selecting color of the Logo. Also materials used make some difference. Logo and stickers also will be of very low quality.

Performance issues – sound, heat, smell & weight.

Physical qualities like sound, heat, smell, weight are easy to spot while inspecting a product. Especially weight will be a dead giveaway because of the materials used in original vs copy.

Have a look inside the product

If product can be opened easily like with a screwdriver, have a look inside the product. You can get some clues from inside parts of the product.

What if you accidently bought a counterfeit product

If you got a copycat product, return and ask for a refund. If item is not returnable or return time is over, follow below steps.

Let the seller and Brand know.

If it is bought it from an online store, first let the seller know that you received a fake product. Contact customer service of both brand and ecomerse platform.

Fight with seller /Customer service until they refund.

In most cases you can return the product. If refund is not given, and customer service ask to contact someone else, most people will stop there. But this is only the first stage of the process. You need to percist and keep calling / messaging them for a solution.

It is frustrating dealing with customer service because of their scripted answers and all but most of the customers will stop at this stage. It is the right of a customer to get best service.

Let other customers know.

Letting other customers know about the experience you had. It will make business difficult for fraud sellers. If it is on a third party platform write a review and your negative experience & let other customers know about it.

Use Social media, review it & more.

Finally, social media and review websites. Internet has given us all an amazing media to communicate with many people at a time. Brands take viral social media posts seriously. If you had a very bad experience with a brand, let everyone know via social media.

Write a detailed review with proofs and facts.

Written on July 23, 2020
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