Counterfeit ERGO Baby Carriers in the UK

 

FAKE ERGOBABY CARRIERS IN THE UK MARKET

Starting sometime in 2010, counterfeit (fake) ERGObaby carriers have become available in the UK. It goes without saying that ERGObaby Incorporated is doing their best to stop them. Meanwhile, if you are interested in purchasing a genuine ERGObaby carrier, you will need to be discerning with how you shop.

Why should we be concerned about buying a counterfeit?
When you purchase a product, you expect it to do what it claims. In the case of a baby carrier, we want the materials which will be touching our baby's skin to be tested and safe, we want our babies to be safely transported inside it and we want the company to back their work in the case of any product fault. ERGObaby website says:

"All ERGObaby products are made of 100% cotton, except the Sport Carrier, the Weather Cover and parts like buckles and nylon straps. With products for babies and children, using harmless materials is vital. For this reason, all materials used in the ERGObaby Carrier and the accessories are tested regularly by independent testing centers. These tests always produce a very good result regarding the absence of contaminates and carcinogenic substances. Moreover, the ERGObaby Carrier has undergone a series of standardised tests. Carriers in the organic range are made from certified 100% Organic twill cotton."

A genuine ERGObaby Carrier is made observing Fair Trade labour practices and each carrier is safety tested. ERGObaby also offers a guarantee to repair / replace any fault found in their products. None of these claims will be fulfilled concerning a counterfeit carrier, whose materials, manufacturing, and labour practices are all undisclosed. Materials used in counterfeit carriers will be untested and inexpensive. Buckles and fasteners are of lower quality. Any counterfeit carriers sent to ERGObaby will understandably not be covered by their guarantee.

The counterfeit market is also notoriously linked with unfair labour practices. This could mean that the people making the product could be forced workers, who could be working long hours in bad conditions for little or no money. Counterfeiting is illegal, and it is not just for the benefit of the company being beseiged, but for the good of the consumer and workers involved in production, as well.

What one mum says about buying a fake carrier
"Hi Jackie, I have just received the carrier and with much excitement my toddler helped me open it. After purchasing two fake carriers off eBay :-/ I can't get over the sheer quality of the carrier I have purchased from you. The box is the latest and the print clear and professional. As soon as you feel the fabric the difference between a fake and an authentic ergo is clear. The fabric is exceptional quality, the printed inside fabric soft and the print clear. The shoulder straps are so thick- nothing like the fake one that was thin and clearly would not support the weight of an larger baby / toddler. The clips are totally different also and clearly stronger and have totally different embossments which I assume is due to ergo updating the design. The stitching is neat and very strong. Also I noticed that the poppers on the hood didn't have the extra circle around them and are not the cheap shiny ones. Overall it's clear that paying that little bit extra is worth every penny as the quality you get from ergo is 100% superior and you have peace of mind that your child is safe. I can't thank you enough for all of your help and prompt posting. I will for sure recommend you to anyone I can and handout your cards. I am moving back to lincolnshire were the carriers are not well known as they are in London so I am sure I will get lots of interest. I will be posting a review on net mums and I will be recommending your service as I have been exceptionally happy. Many thanks, Jessica" - August 2012

HOW TO PURCHASE A GENUINE ERGOBABY CARRIER

Check up on the Stockist
I encourage anyone wishing to purchase a GENUINE ERGO to check the ERGObaby.eu website (or Clever Clogs website- ERGO's UK Stockist) to see their full list of stockists in the UK. First Signs in Peterborough is one of them. In late 2012, ERGObaby has issued authorized retailers with an "Authorized Retailer" icon, with the retailers business name patterned in the background. Many, many ERGOs listed on Ebay and Amazon are fakes - authorized sellers are not allowed to sell on Ebay or Amazon. Please beware of a new crop of ERGObaby-lookalike websites which claim to be selling off ERGOs in a "sale." Also, any retailer who ships directly from China (or any foreign country apart from Germany) is fake. ERGObaby has authorized retailers worldwide, so there is no need for genuine carriers to be shipped from the Far East. I would also be wary of suppliers who sell a variety of non-baby related items or have very little information about the product for sale. This tells me that they are not a baby shop and also have no experience using it. I have also noticed that several of the counterfeit ebay listings are written in broken English. Again, a quick check on ERGObaby's website will verify the stockists they supply.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
When you are looking online at ERGO's, there are a few things you can look for in the item descriptions which will help you differentiate fakes from genuine carriers:

Firstly, PRICE is an indicator. I understand that everyone wants a good deal, but ANYTHING genuine is more pricey than a counterfeit! If you are looking at a NEW ERGO for a price that seems too good to be true? There is a good chance that it is a fake.

Secondly, counterfeits often come with DVD instructions. Genuine carriers come with a printed manual (they used to come with DVD's but haven't for about 2 years now).

Thirdly, many counterfeits are described differently than on the ERGObaby.eu website. For instance, the colours may be referred to as "red" "black" "cream" rather than "Cranberry,""Black and Camel" and "Camel." Also they can be called "slings" and other unfitting descriptions. I have noticed one ebay listing stating "extra protective cap included" - I suspect this is a poor description of the sleeping hood. Any product description that does not match ERGObaby's website is suspect. ERGObaby is very finicky with their retailers about these types of descriptive errors. (ERGObaby Europe asked me to change every "Ergobaby" on my website to read "ERGObaby" - and that was just capitalization!)

Fourthly, another pointer to watch for is the colours which are available to purchase on the counterfeit market may be different from genuines. Have a look and see if the colours available marry up to the colours available on ERGObaby.eu website. For instance, many counterfeits are offered in chocolate / brown colour. This colour is only offered by ERGObaby in their more expensive Organic range. So, it is highly unlikely that you will get a genuine, Organic Dark Chocolate carrier for the same price as a Cranberry, Camel, or Black/Camel, as genuine retailers have to pay more for them, too! Also, there are many fake cranberry / cream carriers out there which is not a colour currently offered by ERGObaby. (This is happening less often in 2012, as the fraudsters are now producing a wide variety of the current colours on offer and using genuine photos on their websites.)

Also, counterfeit carriers are slightly shiny in appearance. Genuine carriers are 100% cotton and are not at all shiny.

Another indicator I have found is spelling errors, bad grammar, incorrect word usage and the like on the website or advertisement for the goods. This is a strong indicator and there are often spelling errors found on the labels and packaging which ships with counterfeit ERGO carriers.

HOW TO SPOT A FAKE IN PERSON
If you happen to be holding a counterfeit ERGO carrier and it's box, you can see on the box that there are photos of old ERGO colour combinations (which are no longer available on ERGObaby.eu.) Also in 2012, ERGObaby have changed their packaging completely and changed their logo to the new orange nautilus to attempt to stop the counterfeiting. They are still (Oct 2012) selling many genuine items in the older packaging, until their stocks clear. Also, the feel of the counterfeit carrier material is different and is slightly shiny in appearance. This alone may be hard to use as a differentiator unless you are directly comparing a genuine and a fake. Again, a DVD instruction manual will tip you off.

BUYING A USED ERGOBABY CARRIER
Of course there is a thriving market for second-hand ERGOs out there and if you can bag yourself a genuine carrier at a lower price, great. The problem is that many ERGO users are actually using fakes without realizing it. So it could be the case that a second-hand seller is unwittingly selling a second-hand counterfeit carrier, because they don't know it themselves! If you are going to buy second-hand, I recommend asking the seller where they bought it and and checking if that retailer is authorized before you make the purchase.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED A FAKE

Step 1: ASK FOR A REFUND
Contact the seller immediately to ask for a refund. If they do not reply, this is a bad sign. In this case, go immediately to Step 2.

Step 2: GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD
Hopefully you will have used a Credit Card to make your online purchase, and if you approach your credit card within a certain timeframe, they should reimburse you the full amount and take the matter up with the seller themselves.

Step 3: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
If you have been victim to a frauster, you can "name and shame" the fraudulent website / seller on ERGObaby UK's Facebook page. Also, you should report it to Ebay/ Amazon, etc, if possible.

Here is what ERGObaby have to say about fakes / counterfeits!

Update from ERGObaby as of May 2012: “At ERGObaby, we want all babies and toddlers to be carried safely, securely, and comfortably – and for our customers to have the quality products they intended to purchase. Unfortunately, as TV show “Fake Britain” (BBC 1, 28 May 2012) has highlighted, there are a number of fraudsters who are passing off counterfeit  ERGObaby carriers and duping parents into thinking they are the real thing, with potentially serious consequences. ERGObaby take this issue very seriously and we are constantly working with the authorities to tackle the counterfeiters, as well as with consumers to educate them about the dangers of buying fake goods. The best way to avoid counterfeit ERGObaby carriers is to purchase only from an authorised stockist.  You can find a list of approved UK stockists by visiting ERGObaby’s European website, www. Ergobaby.eu.   We are also introducing an “authorised stockist” badge for our retailers to display in store from June. Customers can buy authentic ERGObaby carriers directly from any authorised UK stockist or from www.ergobaby.eu. Unfortunately, some people may still end up purchasing a counterfeit product.  We would strongly advise that all parents are cautious about buying ERGObaby Carriers from unauthorised online auction sites and websites.  Also, we urge parents to be suspicious if the prices are heavily discounted.  ERGObaby rarely runs price promotions and if it sounds too good to be true, generally, it is. Other tell-tale signs of a Fake ERGObaby carrier are outdated packaging featuring a DVD; coarser, low-quality materials and flimsy buckles and straps. Again, we urge you to purchase your ERGObaby Carrier and accessory products only through our authorised retailers.  We can guarantee attentive & personal customer service, a 30-day trial period (for undamaged returns) and excellent warranties, services and protections.”
Pull-out tips on spotting a fake:

  1. Always buy from an authorised stockist and be cautious of online auction sites and sites that mimic ERGObaby.
  2. Be suspicious of heavily discounted prices
  3. Beware of out-dated packaging and boxes that feature a DVD.
  4. Fake ERGObaby carriers may contain chemicals and materials that are potentially harmful to your baby. Check your purchase for quality of stitching, quality of fabric and quality of buckles attachments & straps.
For helpful, friendly assistance contact: Jackie Fewtrell

Copyright First Signs 2012

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