How to avoid buy­ing fake head­phones

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Buyer's Guide Best Buys -

How can you be sure that the head­phones you’re buy­ing are the gen­uine ar­ti­cle? We can help.

Only buy from au­tho­rised deal­ers Buy­ing from au­tho­rised deal­ers not only en­sures the prod­uct you re­ceive is gen­uine, it also means you get a high level of pre- and post-sales ser­vice. When you buy from an au­tho­rised dealer, whether at a shop or on­line, you can be sure you’re buy­ing a gen­uine, fac­tory-new prod­uct.

Au­tho­rised deal­ers will have ac­cess to the lat­est prod­uct knowl­edge, so can bet­ter serve your needs, and can of­fer a full war­ranty in case the head­phones are faulty.

Buy­ing safely from auc­tion sites While Ama­zon is an au­tho­rised on­line dealer of many head­phone brands, a lot of third-party re­sellers who sell through Ama­zon are not. To be cer­tain that you’re buy­ing from an au­tho­rised re­seller, make sure you check where the prod­uct is be­ing shipped from and who it’s sold by. Those things should be clearly stated on the prod­uct page.

Many head­phone sell­ers on ebay aren’t au­tho­rised re­sellers ei­ther. Buy­ing from them also means you won’t get the war­ranty or the level of af­ter-sales sup­port that man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­vide.

If in doubt, ask If you’re in any doubt about the re­tailer you’re con­sid­er­ing buy­ing from, check the man­u­fac­turer’s list of re­sellers on­line. Still un­cer­tain? Con­tact the man­u­fac­turer di­rectly be­fore you buy. It’s well worth check­ing the se­rial num­ber with the man­u­fac­turer to see if it’s gen­uine. Many are not.

Un­der­stand the risks If you do buy from an unau­tho­rised dealer, it’s im­por­tant to know what you’re get­ting your­self into. The head­phones could be faulty, fake or even stolen. And if they do de­velop a fault, you’ll have no war­ranty to fall back on. Head­phones sold by unau­tho­rised deal­ers can come from a va­ri­ety of sources. They could have been bought from a ‘grey’ sec­ondary mar­ket (of­ten some­where out­side Europe with no war­ranty cover). They may be dam­aged or de­fec­tive stock (so-called ‘B-grade’ stock). They could even be stolen or fake.

Many unau­tho­rised re­sellers sell via sites such as Ama­zon Mar­ket­place and ebay, but it has also been known for some more es­tab­lished stores to ob­tain stock through these unau­tho­rised chan­nels. In some cases, unau­tho­rised re­sellers have changed their name, web­site ad­dress and lo­ca­tion to avoid deal­ing with cus­tomer prob­lems. So if you do en­counter an is­sue, you’re on your own.

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