Want a brand-name air conditioner, but don’t want to pay the cost of a genuine item? That’s not a problem in Vietnam. Simply nip on down to ‘cousin Nguyen’s’ local electrical appliance shop where their motto is any brand, best price.
LG, Samsung, Toshiba; are readily available; and at prices that are simply a steal.
Just give us a couple of hours and our friend with the friend at the factory will get us what you need. LG, Samsung, Toshiba… any brand, best price… wholesale price… no tax. What’s that? Warranty? No problem. Total 100 per cent OTD*. This IS a prestigious brand you know.
Nowhere more than Asia is the shoppers universal motto of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) hold true.
Knock-offs, counterfeits, copies, forgeries, or simple trademark theft, whatever you want to call it, remains a problem throughout most of Southeast Asia.
As the video above shows, its not just fashion, jewellery, software, and motion picture industry brands destined for the regions night markets that fall victim to trademark theft. It’s happening with a much wider range of items, with local consumers the (often unwitting) victims.
In the video above an unidentified worker is seen deftly adding the word ‘Toshiba’ onto the housing of a split-system air conditioning unit using a small silk screen stencil, a brush and tin of ink or paint.
Just to increase the value he scurries to the other end of the unit and prints the word ‘inverter’. He then moves to another unit which a colleague is buffing and repeats the forgery.
A close look at the small silk screen frame shows that should the customer want a different ‘brand’ air conditioner there’s no problem. Like trusty Boy Scouts these guys are prepared. LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi, are all there, in addition to various word-marks used on products, just a ink swipe away.
Despite increasing raids by authorities in pursuit of trademark theft – Thai authorities announced today the seizure of some Bt50 million (about US$1.472 million) worth of counterfeit and untaxed items, while last week Malaysian authorities seized Rm62,000 (about US$14,535) worth of counterfeit Adidas and Nike sports shoes – the situation is unlikely to abate while it is as easy as a silk screen and tin of ink to carry out.
In the meantime, no matter were you shop, when you hear words from touts such as any brand, best price, remember; If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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*Out the door