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Businesses beware: counterfeit tablets are more common than you think

by Alina Halloran

November 27 2012

Alina Halloran is vice president of online brand protection at OpSec Security.


A deep discount on a tablet could come back to bite you.

With businesses looking to cut costs in today’s uncertain economic climate, a new class of tablet bargain hunters has emerged: the office manager and the procurement agent. 

Small businesses are increasingly equipping their employees with tablets to create efficiencies and, in some cases, for the ‘cool factor.’ For example, some restaurants are presenting customers with tablet menus rather than printed versions and many retail stores have done away with registers altogether, relying instead on sales associates with tablets to ring up purchases on the spot. 

However, as with any hot product, as the popularity of tablets grows, the rise of counterfeits also increases. 

The explosive growth of tablet sales has attracted counterfeiters who lurk on popular business-to-business trade boards and auction sites where illicit product are often advertised in large quantities at deep discounts. 

For example, a quick scan for Motorola’s Xoom tablet uncovered a seller offering Xoom in bulk on a popular trade board for under $100. That’s 75 percent below the retail price! 

It’s impossible for an authorized reseller to offer such steep discounts. In addition to suspicious indicators like low prices and large quantities offered, some listings include photos of legitimate products, as many counterfeit sellers will advertise with photos of a genuine, trademarked product hoping to fool buyers into thinking they’re getting the real thing. 

So how do businesses protect themselves against purchasing counterfeit tablets online?  Here are some tips:

--If the price seems too good to be true, it is. Look on the manufacturer’s site to see a list of authorized online sites and brick and mortar resellers from whom to purchase. 

--Make sure there’s a warranty. Manufacturers typically offer a one-year warranty covering the product, accessories and software. Most authorized dealers will offer an extended warranty. Suspicious sites may not make any mention of a warranty.

--Review buyer feedback. Look for feedback from other buyers about their experience with a given site or comments about the products they’ve purchased from the site. If there’s negative feedback about the return policy, warranty issues or product integrity, then steer clear.

--Research, research, research.  Make sure you know the price range for the model(s) of interest, the look and feel of the genuine product and the standard manufacturer’s warranty. Be an educated buyer.

If you’re buying between 10 and 50 tablets for your workforce to make them more efficient and cutting edge, buying a bunch of counterfeits is sure to disappoint. The money you thought you saved will only result in more money spent in the long run – not to mention headaches and hassles in trying to track down the counterfeit seller.

Alina Halloran is vice president of online brand protection at OpSec Security.

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