Separating the iPhones from the iFakes

Trading Standards Officers are warning gadget fans to beware cheap imitations of the new iPhone model which are already being sold on-line before the official product has even been launched.

Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards Officers have issued the alert ahead of the launch of the new iPhone 5, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Although Nottinghamshire Trading Standards have no record of previous fake iPhone handsets in Nottinghamshire, there have been a number of problems with mobile phone accessories, including unsafe chargers and plugs.

The counterfeit iPhones are thought to originate in China and are on sale on-line for as little as £19.

Last week the Trading Standards East Midlands “Scambusters” Team, managed by Nottinghamshire County Council, received a national award for breaking a counterfeit ring selling imitation branded items including ghd hair straightners and ugg boots in 2010.

Two men were jailed for importing the counterfeit goods and Trading Standards Officers are warning that anyone trying to do something similar with the new iPhone could face the same fate.

Mark Walker, Trading Standards Group Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council said, “Nobody is going to get a genuine new ‘must-have’ gadget like an iPhone 5 for £19. As with any branded item, if a price sounds too good to be true, it normally is.

“If you are planning on buying an iPhone 5, our advice would be to stick to an established, reputable retailer. Buying online from an unknown source abroad carries a risk, especially if the price seems unrealistically low. It also makes it extremely difficult for local authorities to take action.”

Coun Mick Murphy, Cabinet Member for Community Safety added, “”The sale of counterfeit goods misleads the public and costs law-abiding retailers and manufacturers £millions every year. Many fake goods are also of a severely inferior quality.

“We hope this case sends a clear message to other retailers or traders that Nottinghamshire County Council trading standards will come down hard on anyone we discover selling counterfeit goods.”

To report anyone you suspect of supplying counterfeit items call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. Although action can’t always be taken in respect of every individual report, Trading Standards can use the intelligence provided to combine with other reports and investigate individuals, companies or issues of concern.