Counterfeit merchandise is a global problem facing consumers. Last year counterfeit goods cost the global economy $481 billion. Knockoff goods are not isolated to Levi Jeans or Louis Vuitton purses, and the unsuspecting healthcare professional can find themselves buying a knockoff stethoscope. These purchases can cost the customer in two ways 1) Inferior quality/manufacturing standards, and 2) Paying brand name prices for 3rd party products. The intellectual property infringement and damage to the global economy have their own costs that we won’t get into here.
Finding out that the stethoscope you just bought isn’t what you thought it was can be infuriating, but some people knowingly seek out knockoffs just to save money. The thought of getting a comparable product at deeply discounted prices can be alluring to anyone. This takes a darker turn when one considers the possible impact of buying counterfeit medical equipment. Would any of us want our loved ones to have care provided with knockoff equipment? Likely not. Therefore, I encourage everyone to avoid the temptation of buying counterfeit stethoscopes or any other patient care equipment. You will be happy that you bought authentic equipment.
Once you’ve made the conscious decision to avoid counterfeit stethoscopes here are some tips on what to look out for:
- The price is too good to be true- Shop around. While some retailers offer savings, be leery of the retailer with unbelievable deals on stethoscopes. (Not sale prices, but artificially low everyday prices) Companies can’t stay in business by selling the same product as everyone else for 10% of the price. This can be a red flag for the sign of counterfeit merchandise.
- Examine the name and logo on the product– Does the font look strange? Is it named slightly differently? Does the logo look different from what you remember? These could be signs of a company attempting to avoid copyright violations.
- Examine packaging for shoddy workmanship– Does the packaging feel extremely cheap, or appear to have poor printing or production quality? (eg it looks like a bad photoshop job?) These can be signs of lazy attempts to mask products as legitimate OEM products.
- Beware the pop-up shop- If the vendor seems to have appeared out of thin air you can expect them to disappear again in the same manner. This is a classic tactic of counterfeit sellers, and helps them avoid law enforcement and angry customers.
- Buy from authorized retailers– Your stethoscope brand of choice likely has a list of authorized retailers on their website. Utilize this list to help you find authorized distributors.
I hope this list helps you avoid a fake stethoscope, and ensures that your money goes toward a good product.