If you've bought your bicycle online for a price so low that it made your wallet sing, there's a pretty darn good chance that you've been taken for a ride. No pun intended.
Last week, American Bicycle Manufacturer Specialized and Invista (company behind Lycra and Coolmax) along with the US Homeland Security Investigations, were responsible for pulling down 10 websites that were selling fake cycling kits. This included duplicate jerseys and counterfeit frames.
Andrew Love, SpecializedÛªs Brand Security Dept. has been in charge of shutting down forgeries since 2007. He stated that the counterfeit business has gone up by over 5 Million US dollars in the last 5 years from 20,000 US dollars in 2007 to 5.2 Million US dollars in 2012. WhatÛªs worse is that itÛªs almost there already this year and weÛªre not even halfway into 2013.
While these fakes can be told apart from the genuine makes when seen in person, according to Andrew, most of these scams happen to customers who pick up their bicycles online. Some of these websites put up bicycle frames worth 8000 USD at 700 odd USD. And on another website, cycling jerseys and shorts worth 200 USD were displayed for 50 ÛÒ 70 USD. These are perhaps the most straightforward indicators of fraudulent goods.
These bicycles are safety hazards. There was an incident in Saudi Arabia when the front end of a carbon bicycle literally broke off the bicycle when the owner was training on it for a triathlon.
This problem has grown to the point where fraudulent jerseys are being released online even before the genuine ones reach the stores.
Homeland Investigations stated that the domains that were pulled down were based in China. No arrests have been made yet although they did manage to seize the PayPal accounts involved.
So next time youÛªre buying something and think youÛªre getting a deal thatÛªs too good to be true, remember that it probably is.
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