CAVEAT EMPTOR, BEWARE of Counterfeit USB Flash Drives
A significant high number of eBayers have been deceived by fake, low quality, unpopular cheap drives!
Below is a stringent list of Certified Genuine & Authentic sellers for peace of mind purchase of flash and computer memories on eBay. One can safely purchase from these sellers as they have been through our restrictive process of verification & checks:-
The list is open to all genuine sellers to join. Due to overwhelming requests to be on the list, sellers MUST maintain 99.8% and above eBay feedback and/or a minimum of 1000 positive feedbacks before you will receive a reply. These requirements even surpass the standard eBay PowerSeller program at any level.
Since October-2006, eBay has decided all sellers could no longer hide their BAD feedbacks. Simply enter seller's eBay ID and watch for Negative/Neutral feedbacks wordings such as 'fake' and 'counterfeit' before buying at http://www.toolhaus.org/cgi-bin/negs
A very high percentage of all USB Flash Drives listed on eBay are counterfeit items and have fake & overstated capacities. Most No Name to 512GB USB Flash Drives are mostly FAKE!
They were reprogrammed from much smaller cousins 512MB , 1GB, 2GB capacity drives for quick profit!
Don't be foolish thinking you got a "CHEAP 16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB" deal, in fact you were paying for a "VERY EXPENSIVE low capacity" hacked sticks. The sellers are laughing their way to the bank!
Most of the well-known branded counterfeits even have brand new packaging, serial numbers like a real mccoy.
COMMON counterfeit brands found flooding on eBay are:-
SanDisk - Cruzer series.
- Most fake SanDisk display the capacity as ' G' instead of ' GB' on the item and packaging.
Sony - Micro Vault series.
- Counterfeit Sony Micro Vault does not bundle with software such as 'Virtual Expander'.
- Most fake Sony display the capacity as ' G' instead of ' GB' on the item and packaging.
- All Sony Vaio USB Flash drives available on eBay are counterfeit as ' Vaio' refers to Sony proprietary branding reserve for Sony notebook series only.
Kingston - Data Traveler series.
- Counterfeit Kingston does not bundle with software such as 'Migo'.
- Imation - Swivel & Mini.
- Counterfeit Imation does not bundle with software such as 'Imation Flash Manager'.
- BenQ, Dane-Elec, Hyundai, Laser, LG, Toshiba, Transcend, TwinMOS.
- No Name or Unpopular Brand.
A very high percentage of the counterfeit flash memories are using Hyperstone and iCreate memory controllers, instead of the original manufacturer's own memory controller!
How to tell if your USB drive is counterfeit and has fake oversize capacity?
- The fake will deceive you by displaying the 'false/oversize' capacity when you connect it to your PC, however they will NOT be able to store the data to the stated capacity.
- So you MUST perform data test by writing a BIG (1GB/2GB/4GB/8GB) file to the usb drive, then READ back the same file from the usb drive to another location on your PC to compare. The READ back process is the only proven way to uncover its 'REAL' capacity.
- A genuine USB flash drive will complete data transfer of a single 1GB file anywhere from 50 to 180 seconds writing to. Usually the writing time is twice as long as the reading time.
- The fake will take an excessively long time (1 to 7 hours) only 'pretending' writing but the data was not actually being written. Hence when you try to read it back, it will claim data as being CORRUPT. Many have reported that many strange files/folders eg. 00000.000 will appear and you cannot delete them.
- The fake flash drives are usually shipped out from ASIA especially from China, Hong Kong, Korea or Singapore, and they are also listed on Australian, UK, USA and European's eBay.
- The counterfeit model cannot be located or matched with any genuine models on the manufacturer's web site.
- Counterfeit 'USB Flash Drive / Compact Flash / Secure Digital / Memory Stick' are flooding the eBay market at very low Buy-It-Now (too good to be true) price to make you think is an absolute BARGAIN.
How to avoid buying fake/counterfeit USB Flash Drives?
HIGH volume sellers do not guarantee items authenticity and in fact this tends to be the sign of counterfeit sellers with items usually set at less than half the market price in your country.
NEVER to be deceived by the high eBay feedback of the seller by not doing your homework, this is how it traps one after another. Findings are many provide positive feedback too early upon receiving an item without having the item being properly check out and tested first, hence many regret.
REMEMBER to check the seller's past selling history and especially AVOID sellers who have their bidder's ID protected or hidden.
- GENUINE SanDisk, Sony and Kingston USB drives ALWAYS bundle with preloaded manufacturer software on the unit.
- CHECK the model against the manufacturer's web sites to see if you can find a match. Some are easy to spot.
- AVOID misleading slogans such as 'Opening special', 'New product not yet available in your country' or 'I am using one and it works very well for me'.
- BEWARE of sellers that only list high-risk flash memory categories, such as 'SanDisk USB flash drives, SanDisk secure digital cards & Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo' and sellers that are using original SanDisk / Sony web download pictures to list corresponding counterfeit items as they do not represent the actual item that you will receive!
- WATCH OUT for low Buy-It-Now item (value needs to be over $25 to be elligible for coverage under eBay Standard Purchase Protection Program) and where shipping fee far exceeds its item value (Circumventing eBay fee).
- WATCH OUT for item disguised as eBay listings from your country but dispatched from China.
- CONTACT SanDisk/Sony/Kingston counterfeit Hotline.
What to do if I have acquired a counterfeit item! Who is responsible?
Selling counterfeit items deceiving as genuine is considered as FRAUD, not merely a simple mistake. It is seller's sole responsibility.
Consumer protection laws are designed to protect all consumers, the gullible as well as the shrewd. The fact that a false statement may be obviously false to those who are trained and experienced does not change its character or take away its power to deceive others less experienced. Our consumer protection laws were enacted for the protection of the people, many who are trusting and naive about the wolves of the business world who come dressed in lambs' clothing.
Counterfeit items are NOT covered by genuine manufacturer's LIFETIME warranty.
If you have bought from high volume sellers, you should not be ALONE in the battle, kindly advise and encourage all buyers in same situation as you are to take action.
How to get full refund and how to expose fraudulent sellers?
Check if the seller is still actively listing the same counterfeit items today!
- After confirming receiving counterfeit item, please follow eBay guideline to contact seller to obtain full refund from seller. However if you are NOT telling PayPal/eBay about this problem, you are NOT assisting the process of exposing counterfeit sellers.
- Many counterfeit sellers are willing to provide full refund, only if they get caught by you, if you did not catch them, they are laughing their way to the bank. So it is STRONGLY recommended that you must always file a report to PayPal/eBay by completing the Item Not Received or Significantly Not as Described process dispute after 10 days of item closing date so they are alerted of the development of fraudulent transaction and seller's BAD record will be permanently written in PayPal/eBay dispute system. If you have paid by Paypal, completing the Paypal Buyer Complaint Process to obtain full refund from Paypal within 45 days. Effectively you will get your money back either from the seller or from Paypal. Most important by going through the PayPal/eBay reporting procedure, you have assisted the process of exposing fraudulent sellers on eBay.
- Since you have NOT been provided with what you have paid for, it does not falls into seller's return policy of faulty product so that they can get away for you to return the fakes at your own cost. Counterfeit is FRAUD, do not settle with the seller unless the seller is paying for all the associated return shipping cost of the item. You are covered by the 90 days protection period under eBay Standard Purchase Protection Program.
- In many countries it is actually ILLEGAL to post counterfeit merchandise by mail or by commercial carrier, if the merchandise is being discovered by your local Customs, they will be confiscated with HEAVY FINE to both sender and recipient. If PayPal / eBay seriously wants you to ship the counterfeit items back to sellers before offering a refund to you, you should seriously bring the LAW to their full attention.
- You still own the right to provide negative feedback against the seller to alert the fraudulent situation to warn other eBay buyers to uphold the eBay values and community spirit. Provided that you have provided negative feedback to the seller and if subsequently the seller provides you with an unfair retaliatory negative feedback, you have a case to lodge against the seller by requesting eBay for feedback removal to fully protect your feedback.
- Beware that intentional wrong feedback extortion tactic is on the increase where you will receive a "positive comment/feedback in writing" but then it was purposely selected as red negative. Sellers are using this tactic so it would make you to believe that he has carelessly chosen the wrong feedback radio-button so that you would agree to mutually to retract the negative feedback you have provided him earlier in order to hide all his past BAD ratings. They have sold you a counterfeit, so don't fall into his feedback trap the second time.
- In most countries, FRAUD is a CRIMINAL offense and injunctions may be brought against the fraudsters to prevent them from moving on under a different name after being banned. Thus, you may choose to contact your law enforcement agencies or each respective brand manufacturers in your region, to report counterfeit and provide them with your item detail and the source of the item, seller's address and contact phone number.
Here is a sample list of picture collection of all notorious counterfeit USB drives with fake 1GB to 8GB capacities. Hope this helps everyone to identify and avoid buying them!