Good Deal on Equipment? Make Sure It Isn’t Fake

It's "Buyer Beware" when dealing with some overseas imports.

Mon January 13, 2014 - National Edition
Giles Lambertson

There was a time when a label that read, “Made in China” ranked right up there with “Made in Japan” as meaning “cheap copy.” But that was then. Both countries long since have established their credentials as manufacturers of original and excellent products. Unfortunately, China still seems to be producing knock-off artists.

Terex Cranes reports that counterfeit Terex crawlers are coming out of China as used equipment and entering major Asian markets. The fakes usually are labeled Demag, a German heavy equipment manufacturer that now is under the Terex umbrella of companies.

The most popular knock-off reportedly is the 2500 lattice boom crawler crane, a huge lifting machine weighing 375 tons with a boom that reaches low-lying clouds. What chutzpah the Chinese fabricators have in believing they can sneak something so humongous into the used equipment market without anyone noticing.

Terex, of course, bemoans the stealing of intellectual capital. The company also warns that the counterfeit cranes are less safe than the Terex originals, which are fully integrated designs with complementary components. The integrity of the Terex equipment, in other words, isn’t compromised in unsafe ways.

The unspoken issue is that monster cranes aren’t cheap. Buyers are paying top dollars for inferior equipment. The same is true of buyers of counterfeit pipe, circuit breakers, or any other construction component or equipment: They believe they are purchasing the quality associated with the name of a leading manufacturer when in fact they are buying junk. A really good deal turns out to be a bum deal.

Too much substandard and fraudulently labeled equipment and material seems to originate in China, which clearly still has an arm’s-length relationship with Western standards of commerce. Blame it on the authoritarian government of China or cultural differences, but the fact remains that rip-offs too often are made in China. Buyers beware.