As Christmas edges ever closer, many of us are on the hunt for that elusive bargain. However, sometimes what we think is a good deal can turn out to be a cheap copy of the real thing.
Although you might not realise it at the time, buying a cheap iPhone or iPad could mean you’re actually buying a fake. There are ways to tell if the product you’re buying is genuine or not, and you can visit our Which? Tech Daily blog or watch the video below for some pointers.
The traditional setting for buying fake goods used to be a car boot sale, the market or a dark back alley. But these days, it’s possible to buy fakes from a wide range of places online – even reputable sites like Amazon and eBay are at the mercy of what their third-party sellers offer.
You might purchase a fancy new pair of headphones or a smartphone in good faith online, only to be sent a shoddy replica.
I don’t want a replica
It would be fair to say that the standard of fake goods varies immensely. The counterfeit iPhones we got hold of looked pretty convincing, while the iPad version (dubbed ‘iRobot’) looked more like a childs toy than a cutting edge tablet. The inclusion of an Apple logo on the case didn’t do much to convince us that it was the real deal.
Both the iPad and iPhone used an Android operating system, and actually worked… after a fashion. However, they would be little substitute for Apple’s own genuine devices.
Some products did a remarkably good job at imitating their official versions. The Nintendo DS Lite fake was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, and even worked in the same way, happily playing DS games like we would expect it to.
However, unlike the real product, it hadn’t been subjected to the rigorous safety tests before being sold in the UK. As such, you’d be unlikely to want to put in the hands of your child.
Can you get your money back?
Aside from the safety aspect of buying knock-off technology, and the lack of function, there’s also the cost. If you do find that you have unwittingly purchased a fake, the chances of a refund are pretty slim.
But it’s not all bad news. If you purchase the product using a credit card, your credit card company will protect the purchase if it’s over £100. Not much comfort if you paid cash to someone at a car boot sale though.
Have you ever unknowingly bought a fake product? If so, where did you buy it from? Did you get your money back?
How confident would you be at spotting a good fake gadget?
I'm quite knowledgeable about tech and could take an educated guess (30%, 51 Votes)
I wouldn’t know an iPhone from an iPhoney (30%, 51 Votes)
I dabble with tech, so I'm not sure I could spot a good fake (19%, 32 Votes)
I'm a tech expert and could spot a fake a mile off (15%, 25 Votes)
I don't know (7%, 12 Votes)
Total Voters: 171