Just Lamps, the world’s largest specialist projector lamp distributor, has issued a warning of an influx of fake illegal Hitachi projector lamps in the European market. Dave Bethell, CEO of Just Lamps, has cautioned resellers to be on the lookout for offers that are too good to be true:
“With recent product shortages on some Hitachi lines, a number of distributors and agents have approached us claiming to have lamps in stock. We were suspicious as the shortages are global and the prices we were being offered seemed too cheap. We asked for samples and as suspected, these turned out to be fakes in Hitachi branded boxes”.
According to Bethell the problem is widespread. “Our Asian operation first encountered these counterfeit lamps over a year ago and we guessed that it would only be a matter of time before we saw them enter the EU and US markets. It is likely that other brands will be compromised over the coming months.”
Worryingly, the fakes could easily fool even seasoned AV professionals. “The quality of copying on the samples that we have received has been outstandingly good. It would take an expert to identify them from genuine lamps, as the boxes, labels and instructions have only minor flaws. The cages offer the main clues, but only if you know what to look for and you have the genuine product to compare against. Even the bulbs have been faked, despite having genuine looking markings.”
Bethell added, “The wider problem is that the EU distributors don’t realise they have been sold fakes and their suppliers, often in Asia, will resolutely testify the products are genuine, right down to falsified letters from the factory.”
The concern, aside from the threat to the whole channel of illegally selling counterfeit merchandise, is that these imitations will have bypassed any quality assessment processes. They could present serious safety issues to users, considering the glass and mercury combination and the high temperatures, voltages and pressures they are under.
Just Lamps is in contact with Hitachi Europe to help stem this current supply and the company is offering a service to resellers who are uncertain if they have unknowingly just been supplied counterfeits.