SKF recently destroyed 1 million euros worth of fake parts in Greece after court battle that started in 2009.
And you thought handbags and sunglasses were the only knockoffs you might find in your neighbor’s house.
Turns out, ball bearings are also quite popular. So popular, in fact, that manufacturer SKF recently destroyed 1 million euros (about CAD$1.4 million) worth of bearing that were deemed to be fake.
The company had been entrenched in a legal battle for about eight years against a dealer of counterfeit bearings and other goods in Greece. Fifteen tons of fake bearing were seized in a raid of a company “with whom SKF had no business relationship during these years,” the company said.
The fake bearings were destroyed in a metal recycling facility on Greece.
The company selling the fake parts passed them off as the real thing, SKF said. “Instead of getting the premium quality product they thought they were purchasing, the customers ended up with products of unpredictable quality and performance.”
“We will continue to fight the problem of counterfeit products and importers in Greece,” said Rania Patsiopoulos, managing director of SKF Hellas in Greece. “This is vital for us in order to protect our customers and their business as well as the reputation of the SKF brand.”
Counterfeit claims have picked up recently. Hyundai in the U.S. recently launched an ad campaign to highlight the dangers of choosing counterfeit parts. In January, Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said over half a million counterfeit car parts were found in the raid of a warehouse in Al Ain, the second largest city in Abu Dhabi.
There, 21 truckloads of parts were discovered, bearing the logos of 15 carmakers with a value of over AUD$5.4 million (roughly the same value Canadian). The FCAI said these would be destroyed.
“Through our investigations over the last 25 years, we have increasingly seen spare parts for the major car brands being imported into Australia from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE,” said Craig Douglas, director of Nationwide Research Group in Australia. “Our investigations have revealed that some of these parts are fake. This recent seizure of fake parts suggests the problem is on the rise and Australian consumers should be vigilant.”
Customers with the fake good will be the ones hurt most, and technicians who install the parts will also suffer, SKF said. The company shared a story of an anonymous customer who bought bearing from an unauthorized supplier. “Their failure was a fact after only a few months, while the expected service life was several years. We faced costly downtime and broken promises to our customers. All this could have been avoided, by more awareness and caution in our sourcing.”
Like those fake handbags, it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not just by looking at them.
“Counterfeiters are more sophisticated than ever,” said Tony Weber, chief executive of Australia’s FCAI. “These inferior copies are so close in appearance to the originals that even professionals can have difficulty telling them apart until they test their actual performance.”