Avoiding Fake AirPods: How to Identify and Verify Authenticity
The Problem of Fake AirPods
Unfortunately, the ubiquity and high demand for Apple's AirPods have led to a flood of fake AirPods invading the market. These fakes, often highly similar to the real thing, pose a considerable problem for consumers looking to buy a genuine product. The allure of the AirPods and their steep price tag create an attractive opportunity for counterfeiters to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers.
Popularity and high prices lead to the influx of fakes
The popularity of AirPods adds to their allure for counterfeiters. Apple, capturing a third of the earbuds market globally and selling millions of units yearly, finds its beloved product heavily imitated. The high price tag often attached to these popular earbuds makes them a prime target for knockoffs. Many customers, attracted by the cheaper prices, may inadvertently buy these counterfeit products without knowing their origins.
Authorities regularly seize counterfeit products
Importantly, authorities routinely identify and seize fake Apple products, including AirPods, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. This highlights the significant scale of the counterfeit issue. Despite consistent attempts to regulate the market, the production and sale of fake AirPods remain a significant problem. As such, consumers need to be ever vigilant and educated on identifying genuine AirPods and avoiding falling victim to counterfeiters.
Identifying Fake AirPods Before Purchase
Before investing in AirPods, taking several precautions is crucial to avoid being duped by counterfeit products. Paying close attention to the product's packaging, color, and build quality might help identify telltale signs of a possible fake.
Close Inspection of Packaging for Clues
The packaging of an Apple product is often the first indication of its authenticity. While counterfeit AirPods could come in packages superficially resembling Apple's signature packaging, a closer inspection typically reveals inconsistencies. These can range from typos on the box to oddly printed graphics. Apple is well known for its attention to detail, even regarding packaging. If the box doesn't look or feel right, or if the plastic film on top is hard to remove, this could be a sign that the product is not authentic.
Checking for Unusual Colors, as Genuine AirPods Only Come in White
One of the most surefire ways to tell if AirPods are authentic is by their color. Genuine AirPods only come in white. Therefore, if the earbuds are in any other color, they are likely to be fake. This is a simple yet effective way to quickly determine an AirPod's authenticity unless you're splurging on expensive custom mods.
Examining Build Quality and Finish of the Product
Finally, pay close attention to the build quality and finish of the earbuds themselves. True AirPods display Apple's well-documented attention to detail. Counterfeit manufacturers may miss the standard fine details for Apple's products. Check the diffuser on the earbuds, examine the speaker grills, and inspect the IR sensors for any signs of inconsistency. Checking the overall physical quality and finish also extends to the charging case because it's another area where fakes often fall short.
Verifying Authenticity Using Serial Number
One of the most reliable methods to authenticate your AirPods is checking and verifying the device's serial number. However, knowing that this method isn't infallible is essential, as some fake products may carry genuine serial numbers.
Where to Find the Serial Number on Product and Packaging
The serial number of AirPods can be found in several places. Before unpacking the device, check the side of the retail packaging where the serial number is usually printed. If you have already unpacked the device, the serial number can be found written inside the charging case. If these methods aren't viable, look for them in your device's Bluetooth settings. Specifically, tap on the information button next to your AirPods listing.
Using Apple's Device Coverage Website to Verify Genuineness
To verify the authenticity of your AirPods via their serial number, visit Apple's Check Coverage website. After entering the serial number and completing a CAPTCHA, submitting the form will either confirm the product's authenticity or flag it as fake. The website will show your warranty information and support and repair services if the AirPods are genuine. If, however, the AirPods are fake, the website will typically generate an error message.
Risks of Fakes Having Genuine Serial Numbers
Unfortunately, there are instances where counterfeit products might have valid serial numbers. To this end, checking the serial number should not be the sole verification of the product's authenticity. Some counterfeiters may use genuine serial numbers, so this check may occasionally fail to identify fake products. Therefore, this measure should be used with other checks suggesting the product's genuineness.
Actions to Take If Purchased Product is Fake
If your careful observations reveal that your purchased AirPods are counterfeit, don't lose hope. There are several actions you can take to rectify the situation. It typically depends on where you purchased the product and how you paid.
Requesting a Refund from Online Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay
If you bought your AirPods from an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay, the first course of action should be to contact customer service. For Amazon, reach out to customer support and request a refund. On eBay, file a claim detailing the situation. Depending on the seller's rating and eBay's policies, they might be able to assist in getting your money back.
Contacting Credit Card Issuer to Request a Chargeback
If your purchase was made from an unknown website and their customer service isn't helpful, consider contacting your credit card issuer. Many banks offer a chargeback service, a type of purchase protection for these scenarios. However, you might need to file a police report to facilitate this process. Unfortunately, recouping your loss can be challenging if the purchase was made in cash.