Counterfeit North Face Gear An Epidemic...

The amount of fake The North Face kit being sold as real has reached a point where the company employs a specialist team to investigate the the problem. Here's how to avoid getting your fingers burned.

Posted: 22 February 2005
by Jon

The good old interweb has worked wonders for making the world a smaller place, unfortunately, it's also made it easier for the fast-buck merchants to pass off counterfeit goods as the genuine article, particularly on e-Bay.

One of the companies worst affected by the problem is US brand The North Face. The problem has got so bad that the brand now employs a specialist team to investigate counterfeited TNF products throughout the world and, where appropriate, TNF cooperates with trading standards authorities and in some cases, the police.

TNF UK's Keith Byrne's advice to anyone who wants to be sure that they're buying genuine TNF goods is to purchase only from an authorised stockist either online or at a store. "If you buy from an unauthorised third party," he says. "Then you are always going to leave open the option that you may be being offered a counterfeit product. If anyone is ever in doubt then they can always call our office in Kendal to check on authorised stockists."

Some eBay purcahsers, we assume, hope that what they're buying may be genuine TNF kit, somehow syphoned off from production facilities in the Far East, however this is almost never the case and one of the problems with buying online is that you can't examine the goods until you've handed over your money.

Doers this look real to you? This jacket simply
doesn't exist as an authentic TNF product. See

So how do you ensure that you don't buy counterfeit TNF? The first and most obvious consideration is that if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Bear in mind that there are factories out there churning out swing tags and badges which look authentic enough, particularly in photos.

That inside label says 'waterproof and breathable'
under the logo. Genuine TNF doesn't do that.

The most obvious pointer, says Byrne, is that most counterfeit jackets have a label inside claiming that the jacket is 'Waterproof and Breathable'. Genuine TNF jackets use the swing tags to do that for them and simply have a straightforward TNF logo inside the jacket. It took us just a couple of minutes on eBay to find a 'genuine' TNF Gore-Tex jacket with just such a label visible in the photographs.

There are plenty of other pointer, what, for example, do you make of colour schemes and designs that don't officially exist? If you need any more pointers, then check out The North Face Guru web site, set up by a ripped off American consumer and containing some useful pointers and comparison shots of fake and real TNF gear. And of course, there's no guarantee that the jacket in the photos, is the one which will be supplied.

Unfortunately it's not always easy to tell from an online photo, so our advice is simple and straightforward - if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Leave well alone.



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Discuss this story

Interesting article on fake North Face Gear. I made the mistake of buying a fake jacket on Ebay. Luckily the seller gave me a refund once I pointed out the jacket was a fake...others may not be so lucky! There is loads of this stuff on ebay and is best avoided.

Posted: 22/02/2005 at 21:12

The nub of the problem, I think, is that it's not that hard to work it out once it's in your possession, but a lot more difficult when you're on the internet looking at pics.

Posted: 22/02/2005 at 23:21

I personally think that Ebuy is a waste of time not only for outdoor kit but for most other things as well.Why can't trading standards look at the rubbish thats being peddled on their, I have no doubt their are genuine sellers but if things are really cheap then they are probably fakes, like the old saying goes buyer beware!!!!

Posted: 23/02/2005 at 09:25

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