Counterfeiting is an age old art that has adopted to changing consumer needs. Counterfeiters are constantly adapting and improving their methods in order to stay ahead of the curve. This has been the case for the past two decades and will continue to be the case going into the future. While their impact is felt across industries, few industries like in automotive in particular can be life threatening. In this instance, a fake battery manufactured by counterfeiters with inferior quality materials posing as authentic batteries.
The majority of counterfeit goods are produced in China, and this has helped the industry to become highly developed and skilled. The counterfeiters have also become more advanced with new technologies and means available to them. "It's not just the fake clothing, it's also the counterfeit medicines, the counterfeit toys. All these things are being produced now with the same technology that's used to produce the real thing,” says Sean McQuay, Consumer Affairs Expert.
It is estimated that the counterfeit industry is worth more than $1.7 trillion. The Chinese government is the biggest producer of fakes. But ironically, it is also the country most affected by this illegal trade. The Chinese economy has been damaged by counterfeiters.
The Technology Game
The fake battery is a perfect example of how counterfeiters are able to copy the look of the real product. The battery is designed to look like a typical car battery with the logo printed on the top of the unit. They are also copying the packaging with the instructions for use, bar code, and the color of the box. Counterfeiters are also including hologram stickers to appear authentic. The main difference is that the hologram sticker is far from authentic. In order to identify the counterfeit battery, the hologram is raised with the text as in original (battery) embossed on it. If the battery is authentic, the hologram will be recessed into the plastic.
In this case, the battery will still work, however, the battery can overheat and catch fire. Counterfeiters are able to produce these batteries in large quantities making them an incredibly lucrative business. Counterfeiters are sometimes able to produce batteries with the same quality and standards as the original brand. The counterfeiters are also able to use the same packaging for the batteries.
How to spot a fake?
The design of counterfeit products is often copied from the original product. If you are purchasing a battery for your car or your tablet, make sure the packaging is authentic, and the text on the packaging should be raised and not recessed. "If the hologram is recessed, you know you can't buy this product,” says Sean McQuay. The impact Counterfeiting has a massive impact on the health and safety of the public and can lead to very severe consequences. A counterfeit battery can be highly dangerous when used in a car. If the battery does not meet the same standards as an authentic battery, it can overheat and catch fire.
What are the preventive steps that battery manufacturers can take?
The two most important things are to make sure that the battery packaging is verified and that the product is tested for quality control. When buying a battery make sure that it is authentic and you are not purchasing a counterfeit product. If you believe you have purchased a counterfeit product, report it to the manufacturer, or to a consumer protection agency. The counterfeit products are often found online and are being purchased by consumers who do not realize that they are purchasing a counterfeit product. What can consumers do to avoid purchasing counterfeit products? When purchasing a product, make sure the packaging and the hologram are both authentic. If the hologram is recessed, you know you can't buy this product. A product that is authentic will be safe to use.
The cost of life is greater than the price you pay for safety.
Consumers need to pay attention to packaging details when purchasing a product. They should steer towards brands that deploy digitally verifiable solutions that cannot be easily replicated by counterfeiters. Brands into battery technology and specifically into EV should adopt new age digital solution to prevent counterfeiting by allowing verification by anyone in the supply chain, including the customer/user.