In the world of eBay, you really do have to be careful. I try my best, but when shopping on price – often you will snag a counterfeit here and there. This morning, I was delivered a counterfiet Nikon MH-24 battery charger for my EN-EL14. I had actually chosen to purchase a slightly more expensive charger based on the seller listing it as OEM where in reality it wasn’t.
I have censored my address above but one thing already raised my suspicion as soon as I received it. Note the Singapore tracking number – on eBay I was notified my package was sent with “RA444275588CN” as the tracking number. So this seller (which I will NOT name for now) has likely lied about the tracking number and instead contracted 4PX to drop-ship – an alarming number of sellers do this! The unit itself looks rather okay, except for the fact it uses the figure-eight power connector, I’m not sure if Nikon made versions with this feature.
Looking at the back of the charger is when I started to get alarmed. The font for Nikon is slightly off – this is a sign of counterfeiting. The label was on UPSIDE down! Note how the power plug enters the BOTTOM of the shot above. And the serial number on fakes are often the same – in fact, here’s four images from other sellers online:
Same serial number! Serial numbers are supposed to be unique. There is no way a legitimate item should have duplicate serial numbers! I think the seller might have realized this, because in his listing he cropped the picture so as not to show the serial number!
To add insult to injury – this thing didn’t even work! It had a suspiciously thin mains lead, and plugging it into power and a genuine EN-EL14 battery resulted in no LED lighting up at all! I did try a working Australian figure-eight cable, and still, no change.
At least there wasn’t an explosion, or smoke, or strange sounds – as has happened previously with some of my eBay counterfeits. In all honesty, this is not always the seller’s entire fault – they often relist the items from somewhere else, without checking the quality and authenticity of the goods, or their drop-shippers cheat them. I won’t judge too harshly here, except to say this is not the way to a Merry Christmas – that’s for sure.
So, lets compare the MH-24 that I got with my camera with the fake – real one on the left, fake on the right:
Notice the subtly paler plastic on the fake, lack of polarity markings and rather “faded” silver print.
Notice the serial number fudgery as noted before, as well as the font on Nikon. Also note the screw head and the label shape which skirts around a swing-out bi-pin connection rather than the figure-eight lead connector of the other one.
Update: Contact was made with the seller which swiftly resolved the situation with a full refund. He explained the reasoning behind the choice of Singapore post, and also informed me that he will be pursuing the suppliers over the serial number issue.
Update 2: Part 2 has been published, with a comparison of the insides of these chargers.