Numerous fake and illegal Hitachi projector lamps are being sold into European distribution, according to projector lamp specialist Just Lamps.
The distributor has warned resellers throughout Europe and the UK to be vigilant as the latest crop of fakes looks almost identical to the real thing.
Dave Bethell, chief executive of Just Lamps, said in a statement to watch out especially for any offers that seem too good to be true – especially since some Hitachi product lines have been in short supply globally.
"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," Bethell said.
Bethell said Just Lamps' Asian operation first encountered counterfeit Hitachi lamps about a year ago. "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," he said.
He added that the counterfeits Just Lamps has seen may fool audiovisual specialists quite easily as the quality of the forgery is very high.
"The quality of copying in the samples we have received has been outstandingly good. It would take an expert to tell them from genuine lamps, as the boxes, labels and instructions have only minor flaws," Bethell said.
One clue that the products are fake is in the cage, he said, as long as you know what to look for and have genuine product to compare it with. Even the bulbs had been faked, and also have markings that look genuine.
"The wider problem is that EU distributors do not realise they have been sold fakes and their suppliers, often in Asia, will resolutely testify that the products are genuine, right down to [supplying] falsified letters from the factory," Bethell said.
Such imitations will have bypassed any quality assessment processes and could be unsafe. Just Lamps is in contact with Hitachi Europe to stem this supply of counterfeit projector lamps, and the company is offering to help resellers identify fakes.
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference