Welcome to my photoblog. I try to keep it updated daily with a new photo from either my personal or professional life. It is not intended to be taken as my professional portfolio (please visit the main website for that), but instead it is more of an informal and fun way for me to share some of my personality and creativity with you. Many of the photos on my blog are available for purchase as fine art prints, please visit the main website and/or contact me if you are interested. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ebay Scam

I am always on the lookout for good deals on camera equipment and accessories. Unfortunately, this post is not to inform you of a great deal I found, and is rather a notice to everyone that you should be careful who you buy from on Ebay. Sometimes looking at the merchant's ratings is not enough, as I learned first hand over the past week. I found a very good deal on what I thought was a brand new, sealed, 16GB SanDisk Extreme IV compact flash card for my camera, but it turned out to be a fake counterfeit version. The deal looked solid; A merchant in Markaham Ontario Canada (a 5 hour drive from here), a 98% positive rating with over 130 sales (negative sales were unrelated to electronic equipment), labeled as Brand New and Sealed, Free Shipping, and Accepts PayPal. So I figured, "Why not? I could always use another CF card!" and I put in the winning bid. One week later I received my item in the mail, and the first thing I noticed was that the packaging was not sealed as was indicated in the listing.

But after opening it up I saw what appeared to be a SanDisk Extreme IV 16GB CF card, at least that's what the hologram stickers on it said it was.

So the first thing I did was pop it into my computer and that is when I saw that this in fact was only a 8GB card,

and on top of that it even had a photo already on it taken with a Sony A350 DSLR.

Therefore #1: This was not a NEW card as labeled in the listing, and more importantly #2: this is a fraudulent counterfeit 8GB card dressed up to look like a 16GB SanDisk Extreme IV. It would have been a convincing fake had they at least used an equivalent 16GB card, however there are several other ways to identify a counterfeit SanDisk card from a genuine one. Firstly, if you look at the corners of the metal plating on both the front and back of the card, a genuine SanDisk has rounded edges on all four corners, counterfeits do not.

Secondly, genuine SanDisk products have one line of white color serial number 'BH07xxxxx Made In China' on the bottom edge or 2 lines of 'BE05xxxxx' and 'China' on the side edge. Counterfeits may have no serial number, another variant of serial number, and may be produced in a different country. If it says anything other than Made in China, it is 100% that it is a fake. The card I received did say Made In China, however the serial number pattern does not match.

Thirdly, genuine SanDisk products arrive in a heat pressed, fully sealed plastic blister container that needs to be cut open with a pair of scissors to access all the items inside. Counterfeits such as mine are not sealed. Genuine Extreme IV's arrive with a full size CD with 'RescuePro Deluxe 4.0' software, while this counterfeit version arrived with a mini-CD RescuePro 4.0.

So what's the difference? Who cares? For starters, I care, I care a lot! I require genuine SanDisk products because I know SanDisk has a reputable and reliable history of providing compact flash cards that will not fail. Their cards have been tested to withstand rugged use without failure, while these cheap knock-offs have no such history and are just a time bomb waiting to go off. Loosing data while out on a shoot for a client, or even for myself, is NOT an option. I therefore only use top quality compact flash cards to ensure this never happens, because I know first hand how unreliable cheap flash media can be. Counterfeits also do not even come close to producing the speed a genuine SanDisk Extreme IV is rated to provide. The counterfeit I received only gives me 16.9mb/s while a genuine Extreme IV should provide 40mb/s.

In the end, because I paid with PayPal I was able to get my money back. However, I had to go through all the headaches associated with calling and dealing with PayPal, and obtaining proof from SanDisk that this was in fact not a genuine SanDisk product to satisfy PayPal's requirements.

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