Can you spot the fake Ergo?
NOTE: See the added follow-up e-mails from ERGObaby at the bottom.
EDIT 10/12/2012: I finally got my refund! After months of back and forth, the seller saying I never sent the carrier back despite three delivery attempts by USPS, numerous phone calls to eBay and PayPal, I finally got my money back (AND return & RE-return shipping costs). Hooray!
Once my youngest got to be about 19 pounds, I started looking into soft structured carriers to replace our wrap carriers. I decided on the Ergo baby carrier, but was deterred by the price. I went poking around on eBay, and found lots of carriers for way less than retail. I bid and won an Ergo in Galaxy Grey for $69 and $15 shipping. I was so excited to find such a bargain!
After my purchase I started looking up how to do a back-carry, and came across a site showing how to spot a fake Ergo carrier. I had no idea there were counterfeit carriers being made, and became convinced that the carrier I’d ordered on eBay was going to be fake. I contacted the seller, opened a claim, and waited for the carrier to arrive. In the meantime, since I needed the Ergo for a trip, I ordered the same carrier from an authorized Ergo seller to replace the fake one.
The first carrier (the supposedly fake one) arrived, and I was shocked to find that it looked just like the pictures of “real” Ergos on the “how to spot a fake” sites. Down to the logo on the zipper. I dropped my case with the seller and left good feedback, once again thrilled with my bargain.
A few days later, the Ergo from the authorized seller came and I immediately saw a difference. Upon first glance comparing them, the fabric was different, the logo tag was different….yet several things (including the buckles) were exactly the same. I thought maybe it was an old style, but called Ergo customer service to check. The very friendly customer service rep assured me that if it was at ALL different than the one that came from the authorized seller, it was fake. A very, VERY convincing fake. As someone who had never taken a close look at a real Ergo in person before, it’s easy to see why I was fooled.
Let’s compare, shall we?
First came the box. The REAL carrier came in the box on the left, and the FAKE carrier came in the box on the right. I’m not sure if this was an old style box that they used or if they came up with a completely new one on their own, but it was convincing.
Back (again – real on the left, fake on the right):
An old way to tell if your Ergo was counterfeit was to look at the buckles. Real carriers are supposed to say “STEALTH” on the buckles. Well, these fakes are getting good because the buckles on this one are identical. Real on top, fake on the bottom.
One of the first things I noticed between the two carriers was the logo patch. The real one on the left has a very light teal colored upper part of the shell(?), while the fake one is darker blue. Again – if you’ve never seen an Ergo in person before, you could easily be duped.
A look at the front of the carrier. Real on the top, fake on the bottom.
Warning label: Real on the top/left, fake on the bottom/left.
The stitching on the fake carrier is a different color than the fabric of the carrier, while the stitching on the real carrier matches the fabric color. Real on top, fake on the bottom.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable differences between the carriers were the straps. Compared to the real Ergo, the straps on the fake one are very thin – both in density and width. Real is on the top, fake is on the bottom.
Near identical zipper pulls. Real on the top, fake on the bottom.
There are other subtle differences, like the shade of grey (hard to pick up in pictures), the shininess of the straps, and a few other things. But overall, what I learned from this lovely experience is to not trust eBay sellers, and if a bargain looks too good to be true – it probably is. These cheap counterfeits are not held to the same standards (if any) as real Ergo carriers. Your child’s safety is worth more than saving a few bucks. PLEASE only purchase from a reputable, authorized Ergo retailer!
Authentic ERGObaby carrier retailers: http://store.ergobaby.com/Content/Retailers
In response to all the comments saying that my “fake” carrier is not actually a fake, but either a second quality product or a subcontracted piece, I e-mailed ERGObaby themselves and asked them to confirm or deny. They replied the same day.
Kristina Tung, Jun 26 12:44 pm (PDT):
Hi! Recently I bought what I presumed to be an Ergo carrier from Ebay. Long story short, it looked very different than an authentic Ergo – so comparing the two carriers, I wrote a lengthy blog post with pictures (found here: http://thehumbledoula.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/how-to-spot-a-fake-ergo-baby-carrier).
I’m getting many comments saying that the “fake” Ergo may not really be fake, but produced by ERGObaby at a cheaper cost or are flawed in some way, so they are able to be sold by “unauthorized” 3rd parties. Can you confirm or deny this?
I absolutely LOVE my (authentic) Ergo and thank you so much for any information straight from the source that I can pass along to my readers to help clear things up! Thank you!
Alisa, Jun 26 03:41 pm (PDT):
Thank you for contacting us at ERGObaby. We do not sell flawed items to a 3rd party. Such statements are coming from the counterfeiters themselves. I have looked at the linked you provided by “the humble doula”. It is a great job in showing the differences, better than any other site claiming to know the difference. But, the counterfeiters are more than one company manufacturing in different factories. It is never quite the same. Which means that there are different so called models from the counterfeits that look different. The Galaxy Grey carrier is an example. I have seen a few variations ot counterfeits in this model. And there are other models like the black and camel carrier. I have seen this model in at least 4 different counterfeits.
Now getting back to claims ERGObaby is selling flawed carriers for cheaper is just not true.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Kristina Tung, Jun 26 04:40 pm (PDT):
Thanks so much for your answer Alisa!
Are ERGObaby carriers made in one factory then? So there should really be
no major differences between two different authentic Ergos (like fabric
variations, stitching color, etc.), correct?
Alisa, Jun 26 05:42 pm (PDT):
We have our original carriers made in China. The orgnaic carriers made in India and the performance carriers made in India as well. So to answer your question, that is correct, one factory for one type of model.