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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
As many of you know, there are counterfeit items out there but the most recent one I bought was a Gates cambelt for my 24v 164.
Having bought several of these before and always being away of counterfeit possibilities when buying on ebay, rather than from a trusted supplier like Alfissimo, I logged onto Gates own verification pages:
https://www.gatestechzone.com/en/product-info/counterfeit-protection/verification/verification-general#option1

This confirmed my belt was counterfeit. Was furious with the seller, who sells so much stuff they may not even have been aware it was fake. Reported it to ebay anyway and asked for a refund on counterfeit grounds; no reply as yet.

Be careful out there...
 

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Not good. What tipped you off for it being fake before you checked with the Gates site?

Will we know who the seller is?

I've tried looking for a similar Dayco site, but haven't found it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not good. What tipped you off for it being fake before you checked with the Gates site?

Will we know who the seller is?
Hi Del.

It just looked wrong. Normally there is a diagram of the belt configuration on the blank white front area and the price had been 25% lower than others and generally seemed too 'clean'; i.e. generic and lacking all specific belt details. The sealing tape just said 'VOID', which is also generic, rather than Gates and delving into the Gates website page for identifiers quickly confirmed suspicions.
If it hadn't been such a critical part as a cambelt I might not have bothered but glad I did.
The seller is a UK-based ebayer but it could have been anyone. My advice would be, if it is a critical part, either buy it from a trusted seller or check it via the manufacturer's own website, or both. Manufacturers are getting very good at offering verification procedures on their websites now.
 

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Hi,
As many of you know, there are counterfeit items out there but the most recent one I bought was a Gates cambelt for my 24v 164.
Having bought several of these before and always being away of counterfeit possibilities when buying on ebay, rather than from a trusted supplier like Alfissimo, I logged onto Gates own verification pages:
https://www.gatestechzone.com/en/product-info/counterfeit-protection/verification/verification-general#option1

This confirmed my belt was counterfeit. Was furious with the seller, who sells so much stuff they may not even have been aware it was fake. Reported it to ebay anyway and asked for a refund on counterfeit grounds; no reply as yet.

Be careful out there...
For sure a fake. The box does not look right. Gates has a sticker on it with originality label and hologram. It does not have a silver tape on end either, just regular tape. That was an attempt to look official.

I agree don't buy off ebay unless the product is an OEM part. I don't trust anything else.

Look at the difference in print quality of the box as well, see how the belt is low quality compared to mine?
 

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Why would the chicoms go to the trouble to make a fake Alfa timing belt when the sales of them must be so low?
 

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Good question, anything to make a buck I guess.
 

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I wonder who did make the fake belt. Could be anyone in the Far East, or Eastern Europe, or somewhere else. Probably millions of those belt real or otherwise sold each year around the world. All it takes is a couple of dollars of profits for each one, since they seem to retail for ~$25 on eBay but fake ones cost only a couple of dollars to make, I suspect, in some back world shop.
 

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Bulbs are a huge counterfeit thing as well. Philips, Osram and others also have similar holograms and codes on boxes to check on manufacturers websites. I got some fake Osram HID capsules but knew right away they were fake by the lousy print on box compared to my original ones that I still had box for. I got them stupidly off sleezbay! But I sent them back and got a refund, reported them too.

You should report them to not only ebay but to the manufacturer as well. Ebay name, address, emails and all.
 

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Apart from the counterfeit aspect how does one know the belt is just not too old having sat on a shelf for 20 years?
I buy my belts from reputable dealers as opposed to EBAY etc where they are cheaper just because I fear shelf life.
A counterfeit belt might even be a better prospect than a belt made in 1999.

Ta,

Neville.
 

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Could be. I also buy critical parts from a known dealer. Many other noncritical generic parts, depends.

Sometimes there is a little manufacturing date somewhere on the box or information sheet, indicating that at least the box or sheet may be a newer version. that's a clue. Do these belts have a manufacturing serial number inked/printed on them at all?
 

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Apart from the counterfeit aspect how does one know the belt is just not too old having sat on a shelf for 20 years?
I buy my belts from reputable dealers as opposed to EBAY etc where they are cheaper just because I fear shelf life.
A counterfeit belt might even be a better prospect than a belt made in 1999.

Ta,

Neville.
Date is normally on the belt. I think but will have to confirm that if you go to manuf. site and input code on box it should tell you as well. I make sure to stock new to new-ish belts. Manuf. within the last 3-5 years, 6-7 are the oldest. I also store in a cool area so belts are nice and fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Out of interest, when I was in Halfords, probably the UK's largest consumer motorfactor, I asked a member of staff about cambelt packaging and whether it would always meet the full standards. He said no - it depends on where the belt was made. So now I'm none the wiser.
Have contacted Gates about it and had my query acknowledged but nothing more so far. Will post when they reply and if they don't.
Happy motoring,
R
 

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I have worked in the printing industry for 17+ years or so in prepress and additional years as a graphic designer and I can tell from your pic of the knockoff box that the fraudsters scanned the original box (which has a linescreen in the image, since it it offset printed) and then recreated the art with that image. It is very hard to de-screen an image in Photoshop so that it ever looks as good as the original digital image that the original box was designed with. When you try to print an already screened image, it will moire (due to, now two different screens), hence the need to try to blur (to remove the linescreen) and then sharpen again. When new printing plates are made, the linescreen will be added back. It never works very well and the image looks like garbage and that is what I can see in that knockoff box. If it was really Gates, they would have the proper artwork. The vector based artwork is another story, it can be redrawn to perfection in Illustrator by anyone with skills and that would include the logos and the background colors, etc. The rastor art (the belt image itself not the rest of the art on the box) is hard to copy from a previously printed piece and make it look good. Also, the fake box has a trapping issue (lack of trapping), where the red color needs to bleed into the belt image around .004 inches to avoid registration problems on press. The lack of trapping has caused the thin white line around the belt image. Poor prepress file prep and a press out of register. Either that or a bad Photoshop "clipping path" when the did the Photoshop work on the belt image.

More printing tech than I'm sure most everyone wanted to know about, but this is what I do.
Charles
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys. Yes, Jason, that is exactly the look of box I was expecting to get and Charles, brilliantly detailed breakdown of the printing.

I did report the item to ebay and the seller is giving a refund. Still no reply from Gates though...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Still nothing from Gates. Have emailed them, yet again but getting tired of their less than enthusiastic response. Ebay have a policy of not letting reporters of possible fakery know the action the are taking - which I'm guessing is nothing, judging by the amount of counterfeit stuff available on ebay. Starting to feel like, if they don't care why should I? For my part, I think I've done my part by raising the issue here.
The lesson seems simple: if it's a critical part, buy it only from a critically renowned buyer.

If Gates do bother to get back to me I will post their reply but I'm not holding my breath.

Stay safe, with good parts, and thanks again to everyone who contributed to this thread :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Further complication.

I received a TRW brand part and it had the exact same 'VOID' seal on the box and the same lack of QR anti-counterfeit code etc on the box. I contacted the seller and they gave me the name of their supplier. Guess who? They said it was the UK distributor for TRW. I checked them out and appears they are also the UK distributor for Gates. So got in touch. Was asked to send in pics of the 'offending' items and did so. Silence so far... And still silence from Gates, despite three emails. And nothing more yet from TRW, who I also got in touch with.

What is going on? The picture I am beginning to get is the big brand global rhetoric against fraudsters and their three stages of anti-counterfeit identifiers are being circumvented on cost grounds by national distributors. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen it. The alcohol industry in the UK seem guilty of it too - using cheaper labels than officially required. It is saving pennies/cents at the expense of leaving us mere buyers in the dark as to whether products are genuine or not. Stupid is probably the politest word I can think for this.

But maybe I am wrong and have missed something or just been dreaming. Either way, will update this post when have any updates from any of the organisations involved.

Happy motoring.....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Formal update:

Gates have replied the belt is genuine. What seems to be happening is several manufacturers are bulk supplying minimally wrapped parts to major distributors and these major distributors are saving money by placing them in generic packaging.

Have seen this before in the alcohol industry and the whole thing makes a mockery of attempts to thwart counterfeiting by careful labelling.

Gates have been asked to consider this mockery of anti-counterfeit measures and will be writing to the major distributor involved directly too. How on earth are consumers supposed to know what is genuine if even genuine distributors junk genuine packaging?

Madness!

Until the situation changes though, the only way we can feel safe is to buy items that do come in the proper packaging, with items that have the proper markings on them. Yes, I am now told by the belt manufacturer that the cambelt bought is genuine and it does look genuine but.... If the cambelt goes, so does my engine and my car. What a horrible situation they put us in for the sake of them saving a few pennies/cents in packaging.

If Gates or the distributor give any further response I'll post it here. Feel glad the items are genuine but frustrated they weren't properly declared as such, via proper packaging, in the first place.
 

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Heck

Are there alternatives to Gates?
Pete
 
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