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A letter from the counterfeit wars

This weekend I received an email from a consumer in the United Kingdom, who had just learned that a hair iron she had purchased from a website for a favorable price (90 pounds sterling, approximately US$180..00)  turned out to be "faulty," and she was told by the manufacturer that it was counterfeit.  She reports that she purchased the hair iron from  But type in this URL on your computer and the URL to which you are directed is actually .  This English language web page shows a nice picture of a particular brand of hair iron selling at a 30% discount.  There was even a logo indicating that the website was an "authorized" dealer of this brand's product.  But there were clues on the website that might indicate otherwise. The public "Contact" information for the website is merely a GMail address, and while there was a phone number provided, when I dialed it (on the assumption that the phone contact was in the United Kingdom, because there was no country code provided) I received an error message that my call could not be completed.  Internet research suggests the phone number may be a Vodaphone cell number that has not been issued yet. There was no street or mailing address given for anyone at; however, when the URL is typed in as just it actually reveals a Chinese language website for an intermediate school that appears to be based in Nanjing, China.  Most consumers probably don't dig this deep into the web information and research that is available to them, and they take the web site at face value.  For websites they are not familiar with, consumers need to look harder and deeper.

The lure of the discount price on electrical products needs to face consumer resistance if the consumer cannot authenticate the source of the product as an authorized supplier of genuine brand products.  The redirected URL is one consumer clue that should lead to resistance.  And if you have suspicions, an Internet search engine that looks for the words "counterfeit" or "fake" and the particular brand may provide other clues.  Look what I found when I typed in "counterfeit" with the brand name for this hair iron.   Even eBay had a forum talking about counterfeit hair irons.  These online discussions are enough to give any consumer pause and cause them to search out known authorized distributors of the genuine product and steer clear of vendors with whom they are not familiar and may not be able to honor a demand for return of goods or respond to a warranty claim.

One of the economic benefits of Internet search engines is that it has the potential to drive down consumer search costs for product information.  Consumers should pause at the bargain offer long enough to continue using these Internet tools to verify that they are purchasing a genuine product from a known, reputable dealer of that product.  Send an email to the brand owner/manufacturer of the product if you have any doubts.  This small incremental increase in consumer search effort will be far less than the loss one suffers if the bargain product turns out to be fake, faulty, or fatal.  For products like electrical products, pharmaceuticals, auto parts and the like, where the counterfeit is strongly correlated with the substandard and the potentially injurious, this is essential consumer behavior. 


Posted 04-06-2008 1:12 PM by Silcox, Clark
Filed under:


zaheera wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 04-30-2008 3:07 PM

I also purchased an iron from them, i returned it after having it confirmed as counterfeit. Now are not responding to my e-mailsm, and as yet i have not received the promised full refund. Help!

Vicki wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 05-12-2008 5:16 PM

I ordered this.  Have tried to cancel it and reclaim through paypal.  Silky lustre have just sent me a rather rude e-mail.  

louise wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 05-13-2008 11:26 AM

I have also purchased a set from silkylustre and when I did not receive it within 5 days I rang TNT and they informed me that the item was a fake and has been destroyed............ so I have no straightners and haven't got a clue how to get my money back!! Help!!!

Vicky wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 05-15-2008 8:28 AM

I have ordered a set from them not realising that they were selling counterfit goods.  I have contacted Trades Description department and they have advised me how I can go about cliaming my money back.

Has anyone managed to get refund from Silky Lustre as promised?

A. Ferguson wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 05-19-2008 8:33 AM

I also purchsed hair straighteners from this website but when they arrived they looked fake. I returned them as agreed and now I can't contact them on the email address given.  Have given up hope of a refund - will be contacting paypal.

Sandra wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 05-19-2008 3:39 PM

I also bought a set from them and feeling very annoyed about the whole situation.  Can anyone advise me how to go about in getting a refund with  Trades Description department?

Angie Furness wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 06-01-2008 3:46 AM


I have also been taking in by this company, i ordered these nearly two weeks ago and still have not received the goods. they were quick to take the money out of my bank account though. This is the second time this has happened to me. Has any one been able to get any reply or money back from them??????

nas wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 06-01-2008 9:22 AM

I ordered 2 ghds from silkylustre and recieved an email reciept through paypal. I haven't recieved anything yet but I will be going trading standards to find out who's behind this cheesy company.

sue wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 06-10-2008 1:00 PM

I have just ordered ghd's from this company.  I have done a few investigations and found the website is a school in China.  I have contacted my visa company who will give me a refund after 30 days if I do not receive the goods.  They will also investigate if I let them know if they are counterfeit.  I will never order anything over the web again!!!!!

lorraine wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 06-22-2008 5:39 PM

yep, i've been 'had' by this counterfeit company also and been unable to get a response when ask for refund.

guess i have to write of £90 then :(

paula wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 07-02-2008 6:16 AM

Rip off merchants. I did recieve the ghds but on looking, there was no official hologram to be sure of thier authenticity -- All I can say is more fool me. I guess there is no point attempting to get a refund as others have tried and failed. Should have realised they were too goood to be true!!!

by michelle wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 07-08-2008 12:19 PM

I too have recently purchased from this person only to find out the same day that they are indeed fake! No hope of ever getting my money back as I keep having my emails returned to me. So BUYER BEWARE!!!!!

Vicky wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 10-28-2008 8:06 AM


I bought from this guy and got a full refund from him. I didn't receieve the goods in the timescale that he promised so contacted him to say that I didn't want them. He replied and told me they were on the way - I wrote straight back to him to tell him that I would be sending them straight back to him. I kept him sweet, told him that he had provided me with a good service (even though he didn't!) & that a few on my friends would be ordering from him. Surprisingly I then received notification from paypal that a full refund had been given!

Hope others have had some luck in getting their money back.

Sian wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 11-17-2008 7:30 PM

Also do not buy from they have all the hallmarks of the other site mentioned. I purchased from them and am now losing hope of having money returned. Whole site was convincing, with UK, USA, NZ and AUS currency prices so it did not seem to be from Asian origin, that is until the package arrived from China!

Joe wrote re: A letter from the counterfeit wars
on 12-11-2008 5:00 AM

If only I had found this website earlier. I purchased a supposed GHD from On there website it stated 5-7 days delivery and after 6 days they can still not provide me with a tracking number leaving me with the feeling that if and when the package arrives it will be a fake. I will be contacting my credit card company to dispute the transaction. I WOULD ADVISE NOT TO BUY FROM THIS WEBSITE!!!

NEMA Currents wrote Rogue websites and the war on counterfeits
on 09-21-2010 1:38 PM

Over two years ago I posted a piece on this blog entitled " A Letter From the Counterfeit Wars "

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on 07-05-2011 11:45 PM

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NEMA Currents wrote Fooling Around with Counterfeits: Don't
on 12-13-2011 11:48 AM

The Electrical Safety Foundation International has released its 2011 Holiday Safety Toolkit , and it

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