Sennheiser, well respected manufacturer of quality headphones, saw an increase in complaints and warranty returns of their equipment. A pattern emerged. Consumers had purchased on line from websites based in – you guessed it – China. eBay sellers had also acquired products from a Chinese wholesaler who deals in counterfeit products.
The old adage, Let the Buyer Beware, couldn?t be more applicable. Sennheiser says: "…pirated merchandise is composed of inferior materials and substandard workmanship. Counterfeit merchandise is not only prone to malfunction, but can also result in injury to the consumer and damage to the environment due to deficient quality control and attention to detail during the production process."
Individuals and professionals enjoy their music on Sennheiser equipment. Where those customers buy their headphones is a concern of the company which is proactive in making sure the sales outlets are legitimate authorized businesses.
Sennheiser believes in Let the Seller Beware, since the company protects their intellectual property on an international level through patents, trademarks and other registrations. Therefore, Sennheiser Electronic Corp filed federal lawsuits in the US District Court under Federal Trademark Infringement Laws. The complaints are asking for substantial damages and attorney fees. More than 100 domestic pirates have been identified. Other domestic websites are being reviewed for further action.
The Sennheiser website contends: "If a seller repeatedly sells counterfeits we ask our external lawyers to take legal actions against the seller. In the Far East where many counterfeits originate, we carry out raids in order to diminish the number of counterfeits which could be sold in other parts of the world like Europe and USA."
Headphone models CX200, CX300 II, CX380 II, CX500 and PMX80 seem to be the knockoffs of choice. The CX 380 II is aimed at MP3, iPod, iPhone, CD players and portable gaming systems, and is sweat and water resistant for sports use. The two year warranty is probably what is sending bogus products back to Sennheiser for remedy. Prices swing widely in the legitimate market place.
Amazon shows the CX380 II Sport Model list price as $99.95, with their price of $34.99. A search of authorized dealers revealed NSL at a high of $74.95 and Buy.com at a low of $25.65. We also found the CX380 II offered in its retail box at www.TradeKool.com with the supplier being Global Crown Electronic in China. They require a 30 unit minimum order, but do not post prices – Inquiries Only. Hmmm?
A Google product search lists 10 on-line stores offering the Sennheiser PMX80, a behind the neck, binaural version with prices ranging from $24.99 to $65.64.
Sennheiser, founded in 1945 in Wedemark, Germany, is a popular brand of audiophiles world wide. Their products have won an Emmy, a Grammy, and are used by performers Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga. The Scientific and Engineering Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has also been bestowed on Sennheiser. That world wide recognition makes them a target for counterfeiters, or knock offs. John Falcone, President/CEO of Sennheiser Electronic Corporation said customers can protect themselves by purchasing only from authorized Sennheiser dealers. They provide a listing on their website.
"The skills of the counterfeiters can often make it hard to visually distinguish a counterfeit from the original product. However, one warning sign is products being offered at an extraordinarily low price." The Buy.com price pegged at $25 is an authorized dealer price. How much lower must you go to be considered a questionable seller? Friend8868 is showing the boxed product on iOffer.com for $12. So pay your dime, take your chances.
Sennheiser is not omnipresent and asks consumers to be on the alert. If you believe you have purchased a counterfeit product or suspect someone of selling counterfeit products the company requests that you notify them on their website.