Cape Town – Mobile phone manufacturer Samsung has warned South Africans to be aware of fake smartphones being sold locally.
Samsung has a local market share in excess of 50%, according to data from International Data Corporation, and criminal gangs have identified the brand’s recognition for exploitation.
“Counterfeit goods have become an increasingly difficult problem in South Africa. It’s not simply the electronics industry that is facing this difficulty however, a range of consumer goods are being counterfeited including branded clothing lines,” Richard Chetty, director for SSA Service at Samsung Electronics, told Fin24.
Criminals will likely sell fake smartphones on classified sites or pop-up stores where devices with Samsung logos are displayed.
If the phones are packaged, they will usually be packaged in nondescript cartons with a Samsung logo sticker.
Chetty said Samsung is working with law-enforcement to conduct raids where it is suspected that fake products are being sold.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we empower buyers to make safe and smart purchasing decisions. Besides being detrimental to the economy, counterfeit products and spares hurt consumers’ pockets in the long run, due to their inferior quality,” he said.
Chetty said that there are easy ways for consumers to identify fakes:
• Familiarise yourself with genuine Samsung products at approved retailers or brand stores.
• Be cautious about purchasing products online – ensure you are using a reputable source as opposed to an individual or illegitimate seller.
• Examine the physical differences on the actual handset itself compared to genuine Samsung products. Don’t rely on the look of the packaging alone.
Here are some of the key differences between genuine Samsung phones and fakes:
• The Samsung logo on a counterfeit model is slightly raised, like a sticker.
• The screen will also appear a tad lighter and more reflective than on a genuine device.
• Counterfeit devices generally feel heavier in the hand than legitimate products.
• Fake Samsungs are also much cheaper than genuine handsets.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said that fake products are an increasing problem in SA.
In August 2015 the agency busted syndicates importing 2 000 pairs of fake Nike sneakers and 1 700 pairs of Timberland boots, with an estimated value of R7.2m.
Most of the shipments originated in Hong Kong.
“Be vigilant, as if it’s a real bargain it may have been illegally smuggled into this country. As the saying goes: ‘If it’s too good to be true, it usually is’,” said Sars commissioner Tom Moyane at the South African Association of Freight Forwarders last year.
While it is difficult to identify fraudulent dealers, Chetty advised customers to check warranties on smart devices.
“Samsung smartphones that do not carry a two-year warranty are not authentic; therefore it is necessary to ensure that your dealer provides you with the Samsung South Africa two-year warranty. If the dealer can’t provide this, it is not an authorised dealer,” Chetty said.
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