Counterfeit goods have become an increasingly worrying problem in Africa. Not only is the clothing industry suffering from the scourge of counterfeit goods, but the Electronics industry has also been under fire.
Consumers who purchase a smartphone device from unauthorised dealers are at risk of losing out financially, as there are limited options they can resort to should they subsequently discover that the device is faulty.
Richard Chetty, Service Director at Samsung Electronics South Africa, says: “Samsung is committed to providing its customers with the best service, with regards to solutions and devices, which is reflected in the quality of after-sales service, customer and technical support. The problem facing consumers who do not purchase their device at an approved dealer, is that there are no consumer care or repair options available to support any of the device components, or any way of being compensated if the product turns out to be a counterfeit.”
“If the purchase price is too good to be true, then it probably is. For example, if a smartphone is found on sale at a reduced price, we urge consumers to check with our customer care centres before purchasing the device, or else they may be left with a fake product”, says Chetty.
Examining the physical differences between an authentic smartphone and a counterfeit model can help identify an imitation phone. The Samsung logo on counterfeits is slightly raised, like a sticker. The screen will also appear a tad lighter than on a genuine device.
“A closer look at a genuine Samsung device will reveal sensors on the forward facing camera, which do not appear on the fake unit. When a genuine product is placed next to a fake one, a customer will easily recognise the lack of quality in the counterfeit version of the phone just by comparing the rear facing cameras,” adds Chetty.
Battery size is another obvious giveaway especially on the Samsung Galaxy S4. The genuine battery is much larger, has higher quality labels and well-designed positive and negative nodes. “The battery is probably the most important determinant of a fake device as it will impact how the device is charged,” warns Chetty. “The design of the battery compartment is very different with softer connectors on the genuine phone while the sticker displays the IMEI number clearly alongside the ICASA branding.”
How to spot a counterfeit device:
A genuine device has around seven to eight screws; however, counterfeit devices only feature two or three real screws with the rest being imitations. Additionally, when the screen is off, the authentic device’s screen appears darker while a counterfeit appears much lighter.
According to Samsung, a fake battery will always say ‘Made in Korea’, with no specific mention to where it was assembled. To add to this, Samsung smartphones are sold at authorised Samsung dealers or local operators… while counterfeit smartphones can be sold anywhere, including off the street. Additionally, online purchases that do not allow for returns are not sold by genuine dealers.