When you buy an infant car seat online, you assume you’re getting the real deal. Why would anyone think otherwise?
But nowadays, things are not quite so clear cut. And what’s frightening about this is that counterfeit products don’t undergo testing to ensure safety standards.
"Law enforcement has identified a trend of counterfeited products that is growing at an alarming rate," said Steve Francis, Assistant Director for HSI’s Global Trade Investigations Division and Director of the IPR Center. "At best, these products will not perform as well as authentic products. At worst, they can fail catastrophically.”
While a real Doona, purchased directly from PishPoshBaby or another reputable reseller, has undergone numerous crash tests to ensure its stability and safety, a copycat Doona hasn’t been tested for safety at all.
About 3 years ago, CNN took a fake Doona and crash tested it themselves. The results were alarming; the seat broke apart when tested at 30 mph crash conditions! And that was at just 30 miles per hour.
“Counterfeit car seats are made with cheaper, flimsier materials that are not able to withstand the forces of a crash,” write Orlando Health‘s Courtney Gleaton and Lina Chico. “They may appear safe to the untrained eye, but when crash-tested, counterfeit car seats have been shown to shatter into many pieces. Many also have been found to have high levels of chemicals and have highly flammable materials for padding.”
“What’s sad besides consumers being ripped off is that honest sellers […] are being ripped off too,” says Rob Gross, co-founder and COO of Fakespot, a website that analyzes the veracity of customer reviews on e-commerce product pages. “They’re being ripped off by the competitors, and they’re being ripped off by Amazon, because Amazon’s not doing enough to protect real, honest sellers.”
And aside from real physical danger and monetary loss, there’s also another threat involved: identity theft. Once a purchase is made on a site selling counterfeit items, they have your information. And as we all know, people selling fake items are not the most honest or trustworthy people around. You don’t want these people with access to your information. There have been many stories about these websites using their customers' information fraudulently, and even opening up other sites selling counterfeit products - under a customer’s name.
Worried about ordering a counterfeit car seat by mistake? Here’s how to be sure your car seat is the real deal!
There are a few ways you can find out if the car seat you’re getting is really made by the brand you’re looking to order from. There are a number of red flags that will likely be glaringly obvious, as long as you know to be on the lookout for them.
Be careful about third party resellers.
The easiest way to ensure that you get a product that you can be assured is real is to purchase a car seat directly from the brand or from an approved reseller. And if you want to be sure it's an approved reseller, you can check on the manufacturer’s website. They’ll usually have a list of approved resellers. Third-party sellers, such as random sellers on Amazon or Facebook, aren’t getting the product directly from the brand, and aren’t approved by the brand as genuine sellers. Therefore it's important to really keep an eye out if you’re dealing with them.
Check if the price is sensible.
Sad to say but sometimes, things are really just too good to be true. Like when a stroller or car seat is priced waaaay lower than the same item elsewhere. Don’t just buy, think about why. How is it even possible that the item is so cheap? This is a red flag, and you want to get to the bottom of this before purchasing.
Look for the manufacturer’s phone number on the box.
There should be a number to contact the manufacturer, either on the box or even somewhere on the item itself. A number on the box or car seat is a sign of legitimacy that you’ll want to look out for.
Look for paperwork & Safety Labels.
An infant car seat is required to come with a registration card and safety manuals. If the paperwork is full of errors, or you’re not able to sign up the product and register it online, the car seat might very well be counterfeit. Also, if safety labels on the car seat are missing or have spelling or grammar errors, that’s also a warning sign.
Everyone wants to avoid encountering counterfeit car seats. The method most guaranteed to ensure that you’ll get the car seat you meant to purchase is to order it either from an approved reseller or from the manufacturer. Shop now at PishPoshBaby.com!