If you buy a “genuine” new Apple charger off Amazon, there’s a 90 percent chance it’s a fake.
The Cupertino-based iPhone maker sued Mobile Star LLC for trademark infringement, claiming the company is selling counterfeit Apple chargers on Amazon. Apple bought more than 100 “iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables sold as genuine” by sellers on Amazon. The company discovered 90 percent of the products were fakes.
“Consumers, relying on Amazon.com’s reputation, have no reason to suspect the power products they purchased from Amazon.com are anything but genuine,” the company wrote in the lawsuit, which was posted on Patently Apple. “This is particularly true where, as here, the products are sold directly ‘by Amazon.com’ as genuine Apple products using Apple’s own product marketing images.”
Apple’s engineers claim that the Mobile Star products were “poorly constructed, with inferior or missing components, flawed design, and inadequate electrical insulation.” The fakes had the potential to catch fire and electrocute users.
Apple is seeking damages of up to $150,000 for each registered copyright infringed, in addition to damages of up to $2 million per trademark infringed.
Amazon said it has “zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits,” and that it works “closely with manufacturers and brands, and [pursues] wrongdoers aggressively,” according to a statement sent to MacRumors. When Amazon was informed of the chargers, it turned over all of its inventory purchased from Mobile Star.
So how can you protect yourself from these dangerous knockoffs? Start with the smell test. If the charger is far cheaper than one you could purchase at the Apple store, then it’s likely to be a fake. Also, make sure to read product reviews and avoid products that have complaints of overheating or fraying wires.
Apple warns that Mobile Star products are still on the market.
“Mobile Star’s distribution of counterfeit Apple products is ongoing and extends beyond Amazon.com as shown by Apple’s purchase of 10 counterfeit Apple products directly from Groupon in December 2015,” the company wrote in its lawsuit.
The lawsuit continued, “In addition, an Apple investigator recently purchased counterfeit Apple EarPods headphones and Lightning cables directly from Mobile Star, showing that Mobile Star is brazenly continuing to sell counterfeit Apple products even after learning that Apple was on to it.”