I bought a fake Sony battery.
It's not a patch on the real ones, it hasn't shown any sign at all of catching fire yet....
The Intellectual Property Office's IP Crime Group issued its annual report yesterday, and it highlights some jaw-dropping rip-offs. A gang in Hackney used "high-tech equipment" to crank out 1.3m litres of counterfeit vodka, enough to buy them penthouse apartments. A less ambitious operation churning out hand-rolling tobacco …
My 2008 MBP's battery is dying slowly and it hurts me to low 100 quid on a genuine item. Then again, 20-30 quid on some random copy is likely going to end up breaking itself or worse the laptop itself. Amazon(used to be able to trust them but since the marketplace was opened up it's full of tat now) and eBay are full of knock offs.
Rock and a hard place!
A friend of mine was in the same situation for his MB. He didn't want to fork out £100 so got something off eBay. Unfortunately for him it was useless. After that and closer to home I forked out for a kosher battery for my wife's MB.
Overall, I'm more upset with Apple for designing something that causes the battery to effectively commit suicide if it is left in a laptop for a few days with a low charge.
My elderly MBP is on its third battery in 4.5 years. The only one I have had trouble with is the replacement under guarantee of the original that catches fire, it started to expand and the back split. Twice I have bought cheap chinese replacements and have had no trouble.
I don't think I would put one in a newish machine or in a MB Air where it takes too long to remove a battery. In fact I would not buy a MB Air for that reason.
"Fake vodka" is a bit of a misnomer. It's high proof alcohol with some trace elements that're supposed to convey taste. Faked brand vodka would be more precise. Unless it's the stuff that blinds (and not merely from being "blind drunk", you know the kind I mean) and then it's grievous-harm-in-a-bottle.
To me, a fake battery would be one that doesn't work. Off-brand would be fake under this bunch' somewhat loose, imprecise definition, but sometimes it's the only kind you can still get. What then?
Of course, if it's clearly inferior, then I'd like to know. I too have seen pictures of capacitor shells filled with much smaller capacitors and sold as the real thing, or that brick of a usb stick with bolts for storage. And I'll agree that people producing stuff, branding it with brandnames they clearly have no rights to, then that's fake branding alright. But the kit might still be real enough. Or not, as the case may be; the reporting doesn't say.
Yes, this is nitpicking. Legal definitions are nitpicky for the same reason techies are nitpicky; even a misplaced comma can make astounding amounts of difference. Thus the shouty "intelectual property" bods with their horribly imprecise accusations (and sometimes made up "data" fit to match the conclusion of their commissioned reports) never fail to annoy me for exactly that reason.
I'm not defending rebranding anything and passing it off as something it isn't. I just would like to see the reporting less full of imprecise fakery. We are, after all, trying to discern which is what we expect it to be and which isn't, innit?
I've bought spares* for a few things, mobile phones, various cameras, they never seemed quite kosher, some not even branded, just 'cobbled together'. They worked though and helped me keep charged until I could get to a wall socket.
Surely nothing illegal if they're not branded? They're only batteries!
*I don't know if they were fake, they were just cheap, off eBay
Paris gets through a few I'd suspect.
If it is described as a Sony battery, and it isn't made by Sony, then it is an illegal fake. If it is merely described as a battery suitable for use on a particular Sony laptop, then provided it does work it isn't a fake, it is a compatible product. It may violate some patents, but trading standards doesn't get involved in that.
"Where IP isn't effectively policed, the business soon falls into the hands of the (real) mafia."
As opposed to the other (real) mafia of the IP-enforcing government?
Look, are there any real problems that might need solving? Who buys fake Vodka or fake pharmaceuticals? Well, the latter case I understand what with our IP-enforcers and legislators keeping stuff expensive or off-market if not hidden behind an MD-paywall.
"55 per cent of respondents found a link between IP crime and benefit fraud"
What's that then? Distillers applying for stimulus money?
I know probably a dozen people who have been caught out with fake replacement batteries for laptops in the past 3 years. Most of the top results in google tend to be for fairly dodgy sites.
The problem is if your laptop is over 2 years old, you *can't* get a battery from the manufacturer any more, they just don't bother carrying stock, and anything they do carry is normally old enough that it is rapidly approaching EOL anyway. So you are forced onto the secondary market, which is a real jungle of real batteries that are old, new versions that are compatible, and cheap fakes that have the same casings, but probably only 1/3 the capacity. Frequently they don't even use the same chemistry inside, we found one made up with unlabelled AA batteries, and some metal to bring the weight up. Others are old nicad cells repurposed.
If you use a reputable brand dealer, you are at least guaranteed of a reasonable quality replacement, but usually at double, sometimes triple expected price depending on how popular or common the battery is.
Two batteries ago I bought the genuine Dell item, it held a good charge and lasted three years.
Then I got a non-Dell item; never worked that well and needed replacing after 18 months.
Now I've got another non-Dell replacement. Works okay except that the laptop suddenly dies when
the charge level drops to 30% or so. I can't help wondering if it's actually a 4-cell job masquerading as a six-cell one.
Maybe I've just been lucky but I always buy 3rd party batteries. My Moto Milestone currently has a 3500mAh extra capacity that knocks the socks off the standard one and costs half as much delivered from China. My Vaio ran for ages off a 3rd party extended life battery, from Hong Kong, which cost 1/5 the price of the (lower capacity) one from Sony. Never had any problems with it, lasted longer than the original official one. I've just ordered a pair of replacement batteries for my new Canon S95 off Amazon, two for £12, vs £35 for one of the official ones. People on dpreview.com seem perfectly happy with them.
The girlfriend bought me one for my birthday, except I found out almost immediately that it was a fake. I read some comments on Amazon before I realised she bought it, so I was going to buy one direct from Amazon and not one of the other sellers.
How did I know it was fake? By the model number mismatch on the sealed box and the controller that came out, the box has only English and French information instead of five languages, the CE logo was missing, the SELECT button slightly too far left, the L2/R2 buttons look different, and the PS button had a slight gap around the right edge, the list goes on...
I also (unknowingly) bought a fake battery for my Bold 9700 - this one is a slightly lighter black and the printed text has a few flaws. Didn't realise this until I checked after finding it lasted less than the original 18 month-old battery.
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