** BEWARE - Fake memory cards on Ebay **

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NATO

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 14, 2005
1,692
28
Northern Ireland
I thought I would create this thread to provide a warning to those who would be tempted to buy a memory card from Ebay.

I have just bought a Sandisk Extreme III Compact Flash 2GB from a seller on Ebay (100% Feedback), I got a prompt despatch e-mail and positive feedback left for me straight away. However I've recently received an e-mail from another ebay user asking me to check my card against a website as he wants to know if this seller is selling fake cards.

To cut a long story short, I had no idea that there was a problem with fake memory cards on Ebay, and upon further investigation via Google, it appears that the problem is more widespread than I thought.

Be very wary when buying a memory card from Ebay. Hopefully my memory card is legit (I will be phoning Sandisk for confirmation of the serial number etc), however I will be buying all my future memory cards from official resellers.


A couple of links detailing the problem:

Photo Comparison of Fake vs Legit cards/packaging

Forum Thread with plenty of user feedback
 

p0intblank

macrumors 68030
Sep 20, 2005
2,548
2
New Jersey
Those comparison images are jaw-dropping. :eek: I would've never guessed the one on the left was fake if it wasn't for the descriptions. Thanks for the heads up. I'll be sure to steer away from eBay when purchasing memory cards.
 

MacTT

macrumors member
Jan 16, 2006
72
0
Oh wow, I just bought a memory card off ebay. I came really fast from hong kong and it was a real one. Phew, close one.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
Wow, that's crazy.

I'm gonna check the memory card I have at home, because quite honestly, I can't even remember where I got the card. Possibly got it online, although it was likely from a larger, legit retail store.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Yeah, like SURPRISE, anonymous vendors on eBay sell counterfeit goods. And flash memory cards are easy to counterfeit, have a higher profit margin and are easier to ship than CDs, DVDs, and most other electronics.

Not only on eBay, but through "legit" computer stores and online stores, who shop for "deals" on name brand goods through the gray market (that is, from suppliers other than the authorized distributors of name brand products) or import for themselves from Asian or Eastern European sources (where enforcement is virtually non-existent)

The "legit" store may or may not suspect that the card they got for $5 less than the normal authorized wholesale is counterfeit. At best though, they are just not looking too hard, 'cause they don't want to know.

The basic rule is, if it didn't come from the authorized distributors' channels in your country, the manufacturer usually will not honour a warranty. This has been a longtime problem with cameras and digital cameras.
 

Nuc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2003
798
6
TN
I got a little scared myself there. I Looked on the my card and appears to be genuine. I'll be staying away from ebay when I go to buy another. Thanks for letting us know!

Nuc
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
CanadaRAM said:
The "legit" store may or may not suspect that the card they got for $5 less than the normal authorized wholesale is counterfeit. At best though, they are just not looking too hard, 'cause they don't want to know.
Even big chain photography stores? I mean, does buying from a store you know is big mean that you're somewhat guarded from buying a dodgy import, because I believe I bought mine online from a company who owns a chain of stores. Not sure if that matters, though.

Dang, it's so hard to tell the difference. This is gonna make me paranoid about buying memory, flash drives, etc, from anywhere.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Abstract said:
Even big chain photography stores? I mean, does buying from a store you know is big mean that you're somewhat guarded from buying a dodgy import, because I believe I bought mine online from a company who owns a chain of stores. Not sure if that matters, though.

Dang, it's so hard to tell the difference. This is gonna make me paranoid about buying memory, flash drives, etc, from anywhere.
The larger the chain, the less likely they are to be tempted by discount, unauthorized wholesale deals. And of course, if it is a Brick and Mortar store, you can at least get in their face and demand your money back. Which you can't with Mr. Disappearing EBay PowerSeller.
 

NATO

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Feb 14, 2005
1,692
28
Northern Ireland
I've just received my card, and I seem to have received a legit card despite my worst fears (and also a report from someone else naming the ebay seller I used who apparently received a fake card from him).

I phoned Sandisk and they say the card is genuine which is a relief, but I'm still a little wary as the plastic protective box the card comes in doesn't quite fit the card, but the packaging and card itself look 100% to me.

Even though I have probably been lucky this time round, I think I'll avoid Ebay from now on for memory cards.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a very wary buyer when it comes to stuff on Ebay, but the description, the feedback from other users etc, coupled with the fact that the fakes are very very good counterfeits mean that had I not been alerted to the fact, I would have never known that this was possible! There's probably hundreds of people on ebay using fake cards who don't even know it!
 

xparaparafreakx

macrumors 65816
Jul 29, 2005
1,273
1
I can't belive what im seeing. On wednesday im going to t-mobile to buy smartphones and they are giving away 1gb memory cards. Im worried if these are bootleg.
 

FleurDuMal

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
1,802
0
London Town
I wonder if places like Amazon are affected by counterfeit memory cards as well? I just bought a Sandisk 2Gb Ultra II card from Amazon for a price which seemed ridiculously cheap (almost 50% cheaper than places like Jessops). At first I thought I'd bagged a fantastic deal, but the more I think about it, the more I think that I might be being scammed (as well as Amazon being scammed by their supplier).

PS - It's the official Amazon store, not the Marketplace section.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Official Amazon isn't likely too bad. Marketplace is full of dodgy cards/batteries and what makes it worse is when the first option on Amazon UK adds a marketplace line to your basket because it's a £1 cheaper than the official Amazon one.

I got caught out with a Sony battery fake on Amazon Marketplace. It was a good one but it was definitely a fake - and while I wouldn't have minded so much if it was being sold as a generic battery at a low price, there's no way I'm forking out the extra cash for a real battery when it isn't.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
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xparaparafreakx said:
I can't belive what im seeing. On wednesday im going to t-mobile to buy smartphones and they are giving away 1gb memory cards. Im worried if these are bootleg.
They're giving away 1 GB cards? Free? Why are you worried? Even the "fake" ones work, and they generally work quite well. Maybe they don't work equally as well as a genuine Sandisk or whatever, but maybe 95% as good.

Who cares if it's genuine or not when it works and it's free? It's just a name. As long as you're not paying full price, i don't see the problem.

The reason I'm worried about whether I got a "genuine SD card" is because I paid money for it, and at the time, I paid only $10 less for my Sandisk Ultra II 1GB (it was originally $169 AUD or something, and i bought mine for $159 AUD), so expect a genuine product. It's not like I bought it from an eBay seller in Malaysia.

Oh, and I just went to Sandisk's horrid website to register my product, and I think my card is genuine, because from what I can tell, it registered ok.
 

Linkjeniero

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2005
255
0
Abstract said:
They're giving away 1 GB cards? Free? Why are you worried? Even the "fake" ones work, and they generally work quite well. Maybe they don't work equally as well as a genuine Sandisk or whatever, but maybe 95% as good.

Who cares if it's genuine or not when it works and it's free? It's just a name. As long as you're not paying full price, i don't see the problem.
Even if the card is "free" (but it really isn't; it's a bundle with the phone), you are entitled to get what was advertised. And the way I see it, if they are gonna bundle a no name card, then do so, and don't disguise it as a brand one; that's a crime as far as I'm concerned (what if somebody honestly thought it was a genuine card, tried to sell it, and got in trouble for that?).
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
Applespider said:
Official Amazon isn't likely too bad.
Er. They make mistakes, too. There was a fiasco the last couple of months because they were selling Burberry copycat umbrellas. The listing showed "Made in Italy" but the umbrellas said, "Made in China." Also, people contacted Burberry and they scoffed saying Amazon wasn't an authorized reseller. :eek:
 

FleurDuMal

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
1,802
0
London Town
devilot said:
Er. They make mistakes, too. There was a fiasco the last couple of months because they were selling Burberry copycat umbrellas. The listing showed "Made in Italy" but the umbrellas said, "Made in China." Also, people contacted Burberry and they scoffed saying Amazon wasn't an authorized reseller. :eek:
Well, I just checked the Nikon UK website, and it has Amazon down as an official reseller, so it should be fine I think :confused:
 

mcmadhatter

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2005
338
2
Bath, UK
If you get sent a fake card

1) When you report it to do you have to send it to ebay or can you keep it?
2) If you claim under paypal protection do you have to pay the first £15 of a claim?
 

ezekielrage_99

macrumors 68040
Oct 12, 2005
3,336
16
That's not the only fakes I have heard of being sold on eBay. DVDs, Games, Perfumes, Aftershaves, etc have a good selection of reals and fakes, personally I think if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is.

My younger brother got caught out after buying Oz Seasons 1, 2, 3 (can't buy them in Australia) so he though he found a reputable eBayer but it was just a scam. After purchasing the DVDs the eBayer closed up shop and couldn't be contacted at all, we are still persuing the matter with eBay.

I have found eBay is great however there are a few morons who ruin it for everyone else.
 

ezekielrage_99

macrumors 68040
Oct 12, 2005
3,336
16
FleurDuMal said:
Well, I just checked the Nikon UK website, and it has Amazon down as an official reseller, so it should be fine I think :confused:
I've never had a problem with Amazon.com, everything I have bought from them has been very well packaged and arrived in a timely manner.
 

Obsidian6

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2006
682
2
Laguna Niguel, CA
lol oh wow how stupid of me i never even thought of people making fake memory cards.

i bought a 1Gb card a long long time back, on ebay for super cheap, both of my 2GB ( ultra II and extreme III ) i purchased in store from calumet photographic. and then just the other day i bought a 2GB SD ultraII for like $30 bucks.

i check every single memory card i own, and they all check out. thank goodness. but i will be steering clear from ebay for memory cards now. i guess i got lucky.
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,044
118
Canada, eh?
My local Costco is where I would buy my memory cards, they have a Sandisk Ultra II 2 gig card for $99 Cdn which seems quite reasonable to me.
 

Mord

macrumors G4
Aug 24, 2003
10,090
21
UK
anyone ever had a bootleg micro SD card, i need a 1GB card for my V3i, i dont so much care if the cheap ebay ones are fake more if they work at a decent speed.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,894
31
Northern Virginia
Sorry to say the tales of woe about fake memory cards and such CAN be chalked up to human nature of wanting the lowest price on what ever we buy.

In regards to memory cards (at least with SanDisk) we know how to spot a fake. Doesn't help if we want to buy off the net, but in the store we should allow you to open the package to confirm the validity of the product. If questioned, having a printout of this link - http://martybugs.net/articles/fakesandisk.cgi - should help.

I guess the lesson I learned from buying on eBay or from "lowest" price merchants on the web is - let the buyer beware - that is why I never tend to buy from eBay in particular, unless I am willing to suffer a "loss" on my purchase. And sometimes I am willing to take that gamble.
 
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