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Is It the Real Mccoy?


11/1/2003
By Jon S. Owens

When it comes to counterfeit products, its all bad stuff. So, be careful. Its one thing to impress your friends with a knock-off Rolex, and its another thing entirely to sell fake friction.
 

Hey buddy. Yeah, you. Come over here. Right here under this here trench coat, I got some name brand brake pads for ya. Real sweet price too!

As if it werent bad enough, with all the lines you deal with on a daily basis, you now have a new breed of alternative product line: the counterfeit product.

Typically originating in some off-shore manufacturing plant, the counterfeit product is an imitation part that is packaged and represented as the genuine article. Certainly, you're all aware of the fake Rolex and fake Gucci phenomenon. What my wife won't do for a fake Burberry!

Welcome to the world of the fake filter, knock-off needle bearing and counterfeit clutch. During a recent conference organized by the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, various experts on the topic gave a real-life assessment of the damage that counterfeiting does to our own industry. Counterfeiting brands like Rolex or Levis currently represent an estimated 9 percent of all worldwide trade. That represents literally billions, if not trillions, of dollars worth of market share.

The primary culprit for the manufacturing of bogus items is China, where an estimated 30 percent of all counterfeit products are made. Theyre not alone. India, Korea, Romania and Russia are just a few of the other manufacturing hubs that turn out look-alike products on a daily basis. Quality, original manufacturers must now be on the lookout for products in the market that are intended to look like their own, but arent. This is yet another obstacle for manufacturers, adding additional costs to their already shallow bottom-lines. So, what does it all mean to you?

As you hunt for the best "deals" and scrutinize products you feel may help your stores and businesses, you must be diligent and thorough in your research. Ask many questions about the manufacturing and assembly country of origin. Look for markings that attempt to pass off the product as something that you are already familiar with. And, when suspicious, never be afraid to call the authorities (either your trade association representatives or the FTC).

Even if you apply all of these practices, theres still the chance that you may find yourself unknowingly selling counterfeit parts. Believe me, it can happen. By doing so, you will have put yourself in danger of being fined by Federal authorities, or maybe even worse consequences. Thats not to mention what may happen when the counterfeit products fail in their applications. A counterfeit watch that causes you to be late is one thing. Applying a pair of counterfeit brake pads to a half-ton pick-up is an entirely different matter with the potential for more costly consequences.

The FTC estimates that currently, some 210,000 automotive manufacturing jobs have been lost due to counterfeit products. There are no estimates yet on the loss of life due to the failure of those products. As if thats not scary enough, one FTC representative pointed out that counterfeit manufacturers have ties to organized crime and even terrorism.

When it comes to counterfeit products, its all bad stuff. So, be careful. Its one thing to impress your friends with a knock-off Rolex, and its another thing entirely to sell fake friction.

 















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