Unfortunately, fake carriers are becoming more of an issue in this community. New parents are being scammed with disturbing regularity. The issue is not only one of ethics and intellectual property: fakes are often made with poor quality materials and are untested. Although there have been no injury reports that I am aware of from using a fake carrier, when you are spending money on something that’s supposed to be good for your baby, most of us prefer the good-quality, well-tested version that will withstand the test of time.
Here are my top five tips to avoid being ripped off by a fake carrier:
- Know which brands are being most regularly faked. Ergo, Beco and Freehand are the most-targetted brands. They are not always faked under their own brand names, be aware of new and suspiciously cheap products- if a brand is unfamiliar, check with your local community about its quality and design.
- Avoid eBay if you’re new to babywearing. It’s a wonderful place to grab a bargain. It’s also the most common place for clearing fraudulent goods and there isn’t much you can do to tell the difference.
- Be aware that scams involving these products are occurring not only on the Internet, but in real life transactions too. Exercise caution in both areas. When purchasing second hand, use non-gifted paypal so you have protection. If you are buying secondhand from someone you meet with in real life, be aware of the scam where the real item is shown to you so you can check its authenticity. Then it’s taken away to be “put in its packaging” and a fake one put in the box for you to take home. People are not always as nice as they seem.
- Don’t hesitate to contact the distributor and confirm the legitimacy of the reseller: their customer service on this point is usually stellar. Usually the distributor’s websites will have lists of authorised resellers. If they don’t, a phone call or an email is worth the wait. Don’t be concerned about missing out on a great sale by taking your time: this is a common scam-artist trick. There will be another sale shortly, but it’s hard to get your money back if it’s lost to a scammer.
- Don’t hesitate to use your online babywearing community as a resource. They are filled with people keen to point you in the direction of safe carriers, legitimate resellers and fabulous deals.
How do you stay safe from fakes?