industry topics

Counterfeit Tools

Revised May 2022

Counterfeit Tools

Counterfeit tools are being sold through online retailers and online auction sites.  Multiple fake websites have been observed that not only include the manufacturer name in their domain name (ex. stihlch-outlet.com) but also make unauthorized use of official manufacturer logos and studio images. These websites advertise various manufacturer tools at significantly reduced prices, such as up to 80% off MSRP (see image). Another example is where a website co-brands two different manufacturer’s products. These fraudulent websites feature similarities in their design and layout to ultimately direct customers to create an account and/or upload credit card information. Also, in some situations, a shopping cart will not exceed $99.00 no matter the amount of product that is ordered. When found, these sales sites are reported and often shut down.

PTI also warns consumers of certain sales activities where persons claim to be sales representatives of major power tool manufacturers, who have just finished working at a tradeshow and want to go home without their tool samples. These people typically sell power tools from the trunk of their rental car for what seems to be bargain basement prices for tools such as rotary hammers, grinders, cordless tools, and combination kits. The unsuspecting buyer often finds out these tools are counterfeit only after they open the boxes and begin to use them. Soon the tools fail, and they attempt to have them serviced at manufacturer’s service centers.

Some major targeted manufacturers include Bosch, Hilti, DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee.  These counterfeit tools may not only be of poor quality but may be dangerous as well.  The tools are obviously not tested and approved by a respectable lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA), although in some cases the tool may bear a UL or CSA sticker.  These counterfeit tools are sometimes being sold with stickers from large retail outlets on the cases as well.  The PTI members are concerned that use of these tools may lead to injuries or damage due to their poor quality and unsafe construction. Several arrests have been made in this counterfeit trade.  The public's help is needed in stopping the illegal and dangerous activity.  If someone suspicious approaches you or someone you know makes these types of offers, refuse the sale and report the action to local authorities and to manufacturers of the tool that was counterfeited.

PTI reminds the public that if the price for a branded power tool seems too good to be true, it probably is.  You should only purchase power tools from reputable retailers and distributors. Members of PTI are involved with state and federal law authorities in criminal investigations, and also support several coalitions to help protect consumers and prevent counterfeit sales.  Contact numbers for the PTI members can be found in the member profile section of the Website.

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