When things are not as they seem

The counterfeit product industry is one of the biggest in the world, expected to top USD 1.7 trillion globally this year.

It is shocking to learn that the Federal Aviation Administration has reported that 520,000 counterfeit airline parts are installed each year in American planes. More than half a million bad parts – it is hard to comprehend and not what you want to realise as you plummet to Earth.

Furthermore, fake motoring parts are so rampant they are considered a cancer to the US car industry. Closer to home Toyota Australia has lodged Federal Court proceedings against two independent retailers that have been selling counterfeit airbag parts, manufacturing the spiral cables and advertising them as genuine Toyota parts. Which just goes to show that counterfeiters are not at all concerned at the end result, only the money.

While Toyota New Zealand reportedly says counterfeit parts are not an issue in this country, counterfeit product in many industries is.

In June 2013 DEMM Magazine reported that thousands of counterfeit NSK branded parts have made their way into New Zealand and been passed off as the genuine product to unsuspecting buyers. Then CEO of NSK New Zealand, Wayne Campbell, had visited at least one firm to confront managers about selling substandard products under the NSK name, and another was facing legal action by the international bearing manufacturer. The company said that it had come across failures in machinery as a result of poor quality bearings and when it investigated found they were all counterfeits in one case, and 95 per cent of another case were counterfeit.

Too many firms, said NSK, are looking off-shore for parts and being duped into buying goods from businesses passing themselves off as authorised suppliers.

It can be easy to be duped or swayed.

At least once a week Cameron Blackbourn Director of Tasman Reliability Solutions Ltd receives an email similar to the one below, from various companies. He says in the accompanying graphics the filters look like the original equipment – boxes and all – but are made from different media. There is no easy way to differentiate them, he says and that the buyer would probably only know once their machine had failed. And then any money saved buying a cheap imitation is lost, as downtime, repairs and replacement takes place.

Subject: Hydraulic Filter Parts
Hello, Dear Client,
Sorry to trouble you again, Good day!
This is Carrie from AIDA filter factory, one of the first movers for filter business. Glad to know that you are in filter line, so I write letter to you hopefully to be your honest dealer and trustworthy supplier in China. May I have your normal demand filter code list please? We will give you best offer and technical advice
Here below are main Replacement filters we produce:
*Hydraulic Filter
Replacement HYDAC / Parker / Rexroth / Internormen / PALL / MPFILTRI/ Filtrec/ Stauff/ Vickers/ Indufic/ ARGO/ Hypro/ Taisei Kogyo/ EPE/ UFI Standard Series
If you have certain filter demand, just give the part number. I make your offer in 24 hours.
Thanks & Best Regards

Counterfeiters are very skilful, they have to be if they are going to get a fiscal share of this very rich pie. Their websites can look extremely professional and authentic and prices are competitive, of course. This could well be your first clue and, employing the age-old adage ‘if it looks too good to be true, if probably is’ is probably your basic and best line of defence.

There is no government agency tasked with preventing dangerous engineering parts from being imported into New Zealand and parts and materials can enter New Zealand under various free trade agreements. Were mandatory testing of all imported goods to be introduced such rules would also need to apply to New Zealand-made products in order to not appear protectionist. There was in 2011, and probably still is, little support for mandatory testing. This does not, however, prevent testing being a mandatory condition of any procurement contract.

IPENZ offers the following dot points:

  • Specify carefully.
  • Procure smartly.
  • Oversee and monitor.
  • Buy authentic products: The website
    www.eaton.com/counterfeit provides an example of this system.
  • Verify authentication.
  • Scrutinise labels and packaging.
  • Be wary of “bargains”.
  • Pay close attention to products purchased.
  • Make sure everything that should be there, is there, as counterfeit products often don’t include supplementary materials such as the owner’s manual or product registration card.

Go to https://www.ipenz.org.nz/IPENZ/Engineering_Practice/Guidance/Guidelines.cfm for full and complete details.

See also www.stopfakebearings.com