Apple lawsuit: Nearly 90% of chargers and cables for Apple devices sold as ‘genuine’ on Amazon are counterfeit and potentially dangerous

Apple has “filed a trademark infringement cases against Mobile Star LLC for selling counterfeit power products such as power adapters and charging cables through Amazon.com. Apple believes these counterfeit products could lead to fires and are therefore a risk to the public,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

Apple’s legal document states in part:

Apple makes great efforts to combat the distribution and sale of counterfeit Apple products bearing its trademarks. Despite Apple’s efforts, fake Apple products continue to flood Amazon.com. Each month, Apple identifies and reports many thousands of listings for counterfeit and infringing Apple products to Amazon.com under its notice and takedown procedures. Over the last nine months, Apple, as part of its ongoing brand protection efforts, has purchased well over 100 iPhone devices, Apple power products, and Lightning cables sold as genuine by sellers on Amazon.com and delivered through Amazon’s “Fulfillment by Amazon” program. Apple’s internal examination and testing for these products revealed almost 90% of these products are counterfeit. Apple is concerned that consumers are being deceived into purchasing counterfeit products on Amazon.com and elsewhere in the mistaken belief that they are purchasing genuine Apple products. In addition to Apple’s significant safety concerns for its consumers, these products, which are consistently poorly constructed, are unlikely to function as well as genuine Apple products. As a result, consumers will erroneously come to think that Apple’s products are of inferior quality and lose trust in the Apple brand, damaging the enormous goodwill associated with the Apple trademarks.

To stop the ongoing injury to Apple and its reputation and to protect consumers of Apple products, Apple brings this action against Mobile Star.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is entirely correct to bring this action. Do not use fake chargers and cables that are not genuine Apple MFi Certified products. Amazon and Apple should work together to require sellers to prove their parts are genuine, especially in products that carry power and could cause injury and/or property damage as well as damage Apple’s brand.

Spend the extra $10 for real, Apple-certified chargers and cables (this doesn’t necessary mean Apple-branded; there are genuine MFi Certified products by other brands for sale on Amazon – Belkin, for one of many examples). The risk isn’t worth it. If a charger block is listed as “genuine,” but costs $1.99, it likely isn’t kosher.

25 Comments

    1. I don’t buy any electronic related products from Amazon any more. It is so shady. I am amazed they let 3rd party vendors use Apple graphics to sell their counterfeit goods. Amazon has turned into a flea market. Even the reviews are suspect.

  1. Never buy from a third party on Amazon unless you know they are using Amazon to distribute their own products. Apple does not use Amazon to distribute it products, but Anker, a great source of cables, does as well as the excellent Kavaj brand of cases for iPhones and iPads. Amazon protects their own integrity, so if the listing says “Sold by Amazon” the product is probably genuine, but “Fulfillment by Amazon” is the wild west that requires additional caution.

      1. You may be understating the problem. Birkenstock, the leftie, hippie sandal company has withdrawn all of their goods from Amazon and taken the blanket position “Any Birkenstock sandal offered on Amazon is a fake”. It’s surprising to me that Amazon doesn’t seem to care.

      1. Absolutely true. Apple’s adapter and cable are $19 + $29 plus tax.
        You can get what look to be identical items on ebay shipped to your door for $3.29 + $0.99.

        Both sets of items come from China. They may even come out of the same factory.

  2. This headline is misleading—it’s not that 90% of all chargers/cables on Amazon are misleading, it’s that 90% of the suspicious ones that Apple purchases/tests are. They’re not going to buy ones from Belkin, Amazon Basics, or other manufacturers that are Apple-certified. They’re going to focus on ones from unknown manufacturers, or ones with prices that are suspiciously low.

    1. They purchased chargers that claimed to be genuine Apple products. Apple would have no case against a crappy third-party charger unless it carried Apple’s trademarks and exterior design. The issue is that the internals of the chargers sold as Apple chargers are cheap and they lack a lot of the circuitry and safety features, such as air gaps between the DC and AC circuitry. Some of the chargers Amazon sells can put out AC through the USB output due to faults in design and manufacturing.

  3. Looks like amazon has a huge problem. I would imagine that it would be possible to sue amazon itself because this is a seemingly wide spread problem amazing seemingly all products. It someone actually does get hurt I see amazon as partly responsible and with its deep pockets the prime target of any litigation.

  4. I buy lots of accessories off Amazon. You do have to be careful. Even the third party “good guys” are getting their certified products kirfed. Definately buy Apple and definately buy Anker. But you can trust other brands as well. Pay attention. When you see three pack and it’s $8 coming from Honk Kong or China, I’m pretty sure it’s counterfeit. Read the reviews, examine user submitted photos. You will see what happens.

    I got a bad cable, looks 100% like Apple Lightning cable, and it was built sturdy. However the lighting plug got hot, with nothing on it. I tossed it right away.

    To support a household, family trips, cars and spares, I need close to 20 lightning cables, and about 10 chargers. That adds up real quick.

  5. I bought some cables from Amazon that claimed to be Apple certified and one started smoking and looked burned. Amazon should verify certification and not allow use of apple certified logo if they cannot verify

    1. It’s not Amazon’s job to certify each and every one of the ten zillion items that are sold through their storefront. Use your common sense. If the item price is 1/10 of the Apple store price, it probably isn’t from Apple.

  6. So even if its marked Certified MFI??? it’s still BS? Amazon is a POS for allowing these cloners to sell dangerous knockoff junk passing off as authorized certified products.

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