If you’re one of many moms who frequent online shops to purchase items for their kids, be extra careful. Counterfeit products, such as strollers and car seats, are being sold online — even at Amazon.com, the largest online retailer in the world.
In an article dated December 23, 2019, CNN revealed that a copycat Doona baby car seat and stroller listed on Amazon.com for $US299 — almost half the price of the authentic product — broke into pieces in a simulated crash test, causing the toddler dummy to get twisted in the seat. The exercise was part of CNN’s months-long investigation on fake products, particularly children’s products, which are allegedly being sold on Amazon and don’t meet federal standards.
U.S. laws exempt Amazon.com from any liability when third-party products sold on its site fall short on their safety promise. The burden falls on the shoulders of the third-party sellers responsible for the listing, who may or may not be authorized.
It’s not only counterfeit strollers that are being sold online. Regal Lager, distributors of Love to Dream baby swaddle, found out its product was being copied after they received calls from customers complaining about zippers falling off or an ill-fitting neck opening. Because these products are not within quality standards, the tiny parts could become choking hazards, and the neck hole may obstruct breathing.
Another product that has fallen victim to counterfeits is the Baby Shusher, which is designed to ease baby’s crying and lull him to sleep. This time, a customer says the product — later found to be fake — broke apart only months after she purchased it on Amazon.
As for the Doona brand of strollers and car seats, which are available for sale in the Philippines, brand officials tagged at least 40 listings on Amazon that were selling fakes in 2019 alone, the CNN report adds.
“A lot of people on the Amazon platform think that because it’s on Amazon, it is a genuine product. And that’s actually really not the case,” Amiad Raviv, Doona’s commercial manager, said.
In a statement to CNN, Amazon said in its defense, “We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and have developed industry-leading tools to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed in our stores.”
How to spot a fake product online
Though it is difficult to know for sure if a product is genuine especially if there is no opportunity to inspect the physical product, CNN lists the following red flags:
1. Confirm with the manufacturer.
If you’re buying online from a third-party seller (which is often the case), do a quick check with the manufacturer of the product itself if the company in question is authorized to distribute their product. Alternately, you can ask them for an official list of resellers.
2. Check the packaging label.
In the photo online, you’ll usually get a clue on the authenticity of the product by checking the spelling or grammar on the packaging. Most of the time, fake products bear faulty labels.
3. Check the shipping time.
According to CNN, anything that takes more than two weeks to deliver could be suspicious.
4. Consider the price.
Online shopping attracts many not only because of the convenience but also for the significant discounts offered. However, be wary: If the price difference is too significant, it may be because the product is fake.