/ Shopping

These are not the toys you’re looking for

‘In a warehouse far, far away, toys are being made in preparation for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens…’ Sadly, some of these toys could be fake.

Hard to see, fake merchandise often is. However, the counterfeits were a darn sight easier to spot in the case of the Star Wars merchandise acquired by Wholesale Clearance UK Ltd. No self-respecting Star Wars fan would fall into the trap of snapping up a ‘Toby-one’ figure.

I don’t think Carrie Fisher could have uttered the words ‘Help me Toby-one, you’re my only hope’ with a straight face, do you? Then again, you have to wonder whether the actors didn’t have a hard time reciting George Lucas’ original script in the first place. As Harrison Ford infamously said at the time; ‘You can type this s***, George, but you sure can’t say it’.

Karl Baxter of Wholesale Clearance UK Ltd said of their purchase:

‘We acquired this stock in a bulk lot, and as a big Star Wars fan myself I had high hopes for these figures, especially considering how popular they are with children and collectors alike.

‘We obviously can’t sell these, but as they’re rather amusing we thought we’d still showcase them. It’s just a shame we’ve got so many boxes of them piled up at the back of the warehouse.’

Fake Star Wars toys

Of course, not every fake is going to be as easy to spot as an ‘R2-3PO’ toy. The original Star Wars was largely responsible for spawning a whole industry of film merchandising, and Disney will no doubt take the opportunity to flood the market with even more Star Wars stuff. I mean, Star Wars branding has already been forced onto fruit and veg packaging of all things, so I look forward to seeing what other ideas they come up with. I wonder if any of them will be anywhere near as creative as these rejected Star Wars merchandising ideas?

With this amount of merchandising you’d hope the counterfeits would be one in a million, but with Star Wars being such big business there will no doubt be a lot of criminals out there who have joined the dark side to produce cheap knock-offs.

And there’s also a serious side to this. Fake versions of electronic items can pose a real risk to owners. We’ve seen it already with the significant fire hazard posed by the counterfeit self-balancing scooters (often inaccurately titled ‘hoverboards’), and we could see it with fake Star Wars electronics too. The Jedi Master Lightsaber is expected to be this Christmas’ best seller, so you best remember to keep on your guard.

How to spot fakes

So whether you’re buying Star Wars toys for your children, or you’re a big kid buying figures that’ll never leave their box, watch out for the fakes. Remember our advice on how to spot scam website and read our guide on how to report fake goods too.

In short, try to buy from trusted retailers or websites. Check websites for information about the company’s head office and landline number. Sites that have spelling or grammar mistakes, including in the small print, can indicate that it’s not a professional operation. Never be dazzled by a bargain – if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. And if a Star Wars figure looks a little short to be a storm trooper, it’s probably not the real thing (or it’s Luke Skywalker).

David Andrew Goldstein says:
15 December 2015

But the irony is the real junk is weirder than the fake junk. See as evidence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPsJQ-qGH2A

David says:
15 December 2015

The irony is the real stuff is just as ridiculous as the fake stuff. See what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPsJQ-qGH2A


“Sites that have spelling or grammar mistakes, including in the small print, can indicate that it’s not a professional operation. Never be dazzled by a bargain – if the price is good to be true, it probably is.”

I hate to point out that missing words are also a give-away.


That was left out for dramatic effect 😉

NB: Spotted this last night, thank you John


My favourite was a “Genuine Nikon Ion Battery” on ebay.
The accompanying picture had IOM printed on the battery.


Not good, this is. The future is clouded; there is a disturbance in the force. Care you must take. Go to WeToysAre and seek out writer of signs. The force is weak in them, and Syntax cannot gain control. You must use the force to deal with Layder of Hose-en, after which destroy Empire direct you will. Tell no one about this but Chew Baccy all the time. If good is weather, then Storm Troopers you will not need.

May the Clause be with you.


In related news, you should also avoid fake Nutribullets this Christmas:

Counterfeit Nutribullets and other fake electricals are putting consumers in danger, according to a safety charity.

Electrical Safety First carried out a test to see what would happen to a fake Nutribullet when a piece of ice or stone got stuck in the blades. In just over four seconds, the cheap rip-off overheated and exploded.



It’s worth keeping an eye on the Electrical Safety First website mentioned by Patrick: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

This site has a searchable list of recalled electrical products, including the self-balancing scooter listed above. This is listed in the Toys, Kitchen Appliances and Chargers and Adaptors categories, but a recall of a Halfords product is listed only in Chargers and Adaptors. It’s well worth browsing this website because it could save your life. I have just found that one of the products I own is affected by a recall. Ironically it is a socket tester that I use to check that mains sockets are safe.


This highlights an aspect of Which? the largest consumer body in Europe.

I have long felt that it is actually quite lightweight with lots of attention paid to commercial ventures[failing] whilst ignoring the very practical aspects.

For instance a list of where to look for recalled items cannot be found on Which? by searching the Directory. Any subscriber to Which? should be able to find this sort of information easily.

The Nutribullet experiment mentioned here and reported by BBC Radio 5 originally illustrates that Which? is behind the curve.

There is a major and fundamental flaw in how Which? is presented on the Web. Wikipedia shows how you can provide quick access to loads of information and yet with Which? it is actually a nightmare. Put in Nutribullet now and you will be given a choice of 23 articles to look at. This does not include todays warning.

Nobody wants to trawl 23 articles which could be compacted to a single entry and links to the testing AND of course be quickly updated for a warning.

You get the picture and can try it yourself.

BTW Wikipedia is faintly lacking : ) but still interesting:


Thanks for the feedback deisel. I’ll pass it on. You may find this website useful, where you can register your appliances and be alerted of any recalls: http://www.registermyappliance.org.uk/

We referenced it earlier in the year when we investigated appliance fires: https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/faulty-kitchen-appliances-electricfires/ It’s also backed by the government.


I am very cautious about using a service that is connected with or run by AMDEA – a trade association – to register appliances despite the potential benefits. I am concerned that they could pass on my contact information for marketing purposes.

RecallUK had a useful website covering a wide range of recalled products, but as a charity without sufficient funding, they had to withdraw their service.

The recall service run by DVSA for cars seems excellent and provides a good example of what we need for all household goods.


Thanks wavechange for mentioning this site which is new to me. They identified , as I and others have, that this is what the largest consumer body in Europe should be running.

Of course my tweak would be the possibility that subscribers sign up for email advices for their actual equipment, and of course recalls triggered by Which?’s data returns where readers highlight problems.

“CommsTracker is the owner of the RecallUK website. In 2010 we became aware of a major issue with product recalls, there was no website that provided details of all consumer recalls. We thought this was unacceptable and decided to do something about it, we created the RecallUK website.

We provided the website as a free service to the public:-

It listed all recalls so that it was easy for consumers to find recall information.

We provided industry leading data and analysis of recalls. Developed best practices for manufacturers. Provided analysis and proposals for critical recall issues to manufacturers and government.
We worked with a number of manufacturers to improve their understanding of recall issues and how to make them more effective.
We were recognised as leading experts on product recalls and regularly appeared on TV, Radio and national press providing insight and understanding of recalls.

We ran RecallUK for 4 years with no revenue and with CommsTracker bearing the cost of the research and running of the website. We are currently in the process of selling off some of RecallUK’s assets. “


Hi Diesel – We can certainly agree that we need a way of being informed about recalls of household products but I wonder if it is reasonable to expect Which? to take this on. DVSA – a government agency – does this for cars. Two friends have told me about recalls on their cars recently.

The remit of Which? seems to be a bit of a secret but I think their approach is to establish what needs to be done rather than get involved themselves.

Do keep an eye on Electrical Safety First. It’s far from perfect but it is a useful resource. The EC has a far more comprehensive service but is rather user-hostile.