How cheap, foreign made products are putting us at risk

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We are living in an age of fakery. Fake products, fake meds and if the president is to be believed, fake news. But while most of it is harmless and in the case of designer clothes even sought-after, there are a few areas in which it can be deadly.

Vapes, Phones and Hover-boards

Whenever there is a Western fad that costs hundreds for the premium version—even though they are usually made in China anyway—you’ll find replica, knock-off versions on the market in weeks. Such has been the case with most brands of smartphone and tablet, as well as the so-called hover-board.

These are sometimes built in the same or similar factories as the real deal, but contrary to what you might think, the big price is not all about the brand and corners need to be cut to bring the manufacturing price down for the counterfeiters. There are also no regulations, no safety protocols, and some missing parts. This may result in a phone that looks and feels similar to what you’re used to, but with glaring differences in the hardware, the most notable of which is the safety.

These phones are known to overheat when left on charge, often because they are not able to signal the battery to shut down when it reaches full capacity, so it keeps on sending power. The same happens with vapes and hover-boards and this often reflects badly on the real brands, even though it has nothing to do with them.

You can report fakes direct to the company that makes the originals, but really your main goal should be to hit eBay, Amazon Marketplace, or whoever sold you it in the first place. Use PayPal chargeback, call your bank/credit card company and get the real manufacturers on your side if need be. Don’t let this sort of thing stand and eventually it will go away.

Fake Kitchen Gear

Fakery has really taken hold in the kitchen. Thanks to the cookery show craze and the fact that we’re all now more willing to spend time and money cooking in our own kitchens this industry has ballooned in value. And when you have a rich industry and a lot of demand for branded products, including food processors and even cutlery, you will find a black market.

Some of this is blatant. We don’t want to link to them because we don’t want to give them publicity, but if you look on Alibaba for “fake knives”, you’ll see just what we mean. Some high-quality chef knives can cost hundreds of dollars and some intrepid Chinese manufacturers have realized that they can fake the look and feel of these knives for just a couple dollars. They are sold as obvious fakes initially, but when they hit the resale market they are often passed off as the real thing.

And this is where it gets serious. Not only could it result in you spending hundreds of dollars on something you didn’t technically want, but you could end up with something dangerous. There’s a reason kitchen knives typically use coated steel or wood handles and if you end up with the cheap, rip-off plastic ones, then the risk of injury from breaking and melting increases exponentially.

The worst offenders are the electronic appliances. They usually work when plugged in, but these cheap knock-offs don’t have the safety switches that genuine appliances do, which means they overheat when left in for long periods of time and may cause fires, much like the electronics above.

Supplements and Medications

The supplement industry is a little dubious as it is, but it’s even worse now that US companies have to contend with products being shipped in from abroad. If these are branded then the product is probably safe. The problem comes when the products are either unbranded, counterfeit or have been sold as a fake brand in order to capture a rising market.

This was the case with the acai berry scam a few years ago and it seems to have become the case with raspberry ketones as well. Ketone scams are very common, but because the keto diet itself has been recommended by experts and praised by athletes, there is a certain cross-over that is causing confusion. Customers are adding 1 and 1 and coming up with 3, and the scammers are profiting from the mayhem.

Government advice agencies have been warning us about these scams for years, but despite those warnings countless people are still getting ripped off. Thankfully, we haven’t had too many fake medications here in the US, but these have been spreading throughout poorer countries and causing harm. Patients are being prescribed genuine medications, only to discover they contain no active ingredient or that they consist of harmful ingredients, which can end up costing them their lives. It’s scary, and if it happens here then it could be disastrous.

Fake drugs that can be produced cheaply, are used for a variety of conditions and have recreational uses (including the highly addictive gabapentin, which is branded as Neurontin and often severely underestimated, as well as many opiates) are already finding their way into the US through the online market. They are bought in bulk from China, sold through US wholesalers and then end up in the hands of hundreds of dealers. For the most part, they are the real deal, minus a few potency issues, but that can’t be said for all of them and it just takes one contamination to make thousands ill.

What to Do

If you have been ripped off online or offline, then you might be able to get help. There are lawyers who deal with this sort of thing, especially where personal injury has occurred. Take a look at these personal injury lawyers serving Atlanta to learn more about the process and the help you can get in your area.