Counterfeit Goods in the coffee business?
As much as initially it is flattering when companies copy a product it does create unhappy consumers when they were tricked into thinking they bought the real product.
There are two types of counterfeit product purchases by consumers:
1) Deceptive counterfeiting takes place where the consumer does not know that they have purchased a counterfeit product. The outer box and product is made to believe you are buying the original.
2) In contrast, non-deceptive purchases of counterfeit products take place where the consumer willingly buys the counterfeit products.
We are dealing with the first. Over the last four months we have been working on preparing a legal case with Aerobie (inventors, owners off all the rights in regards to the Aeropress globally) as well as Kisch Inc and the Commercial Branch of SAPS to initiate our first legal rights to combat the problem.
After 4 months we launched the first raid. Please see comments below from the report:
Press release: by KISCH IP (legal team)
“A raid was conducted at the warehouse of a well-known business in the coffee and hospitality industry on Thursday 8 December 2016. This raid was conducted by various branches of the South African Police Service various branches of the South African Police Service in accordance with a search and seizure warrant issued for the seizure of suspected counterfeit AEROPRESS products. The raid commenced at approximately 10.30 and took 2 hours to complete. Counterfeit AEROPRESS products were seized during this operation. Criminal and civil proceedings are pending against the suspects preventing the disclosure of further details at this stage. Further updates will follow at the appropriate juncture. This operation is the result of numerous investigations and test purchases being conducted on behalf of MoreFlavour and Aerobie, Inc. over the past 3 months with similar action to be taken against other known infringers shortly.”
How to tell the difference
In essence the counterfeit is copies of outdated box and products updates. Here is a list of little things to quickly identify
- The Outer Box:
Quick notes: In South Africa we have a black sleeve around the box at times to assist in retail display. Not all our retail stores use this.
BPA free and made in America wording and images.
Patent numbers, copyright vs patent pending. (Ironically they do mention all Aerobie details address and toll free numbers.
Images on the box (missing AeroPress wording on the chamber and other details)
“Air press” a counterfeit was displayed without a box, previously with and named AeroPress, since their delisting on an online store. The latest attempt to sell their units on another online retailer is still the counterfeit.
Now this is where most people now discover the real problem and please refer to the images below as your reference.
AeroPress (the original is BPA free) and also indicated on the outer box (please see above image) Counterfeit are NOT! Also see yellow shine on the clear unit. Inferior materials are used.
Our parts (stirrer and cone) are branding with the Aeropress trademarks. The counterfeit is not and appear very shiny.
AeroPress is now grey in appearance. Older versions were brown and clear however the AeroPress trademark would always be on the chambers. Counterfeits done not have the AeroPress on the chambers.
Functioning of the unit
As we might be biased so we decided to post two of the many customers that got hold of us to complain and then realized they got cheated. Please note these were people that have owned AeroPress units before.
“Opened up the packaging and to say that I was disappointed, was an understatement. It started with the slightly flimsy packaging, then I couldn’t get the cap off. Once I had trimmed the cap and removed the plunger, I couldn’t get it back in as there was a nasty sharp ridge instead of a tapered lead in. No AeroPress branding anywhere on the tube or any of the accessories and the printing of the numbers was not centred on the tube … ALARM BELLS!!!!”
I spoke to Alex from Aerobie about an aeropress that I recently got as a replacement of my old one. It is seriously sub-standard. He suggested that it is probably a Chinese counterfeit, and that you guys have issues with them in SA at the moment. How can I be sure? Because it looked very much the same, except for an abundantly clear lack of attention to detail in the finishing of the product (jagged edges on the plastic, seal doesn’t stay on the plunger, etc.).
What can you do and what can we do:
We cannot warrant a product that’s not ours. Try and return your unit immediately from where you bought it and get your monies refunded.
If you are looking to obtain the real AeroPress please mail at email@example.com or phone: 021 823 7764