Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

6 April 2014

Tanzania: Spread of Counterfeit Goods Is a Global Problem

THE spread of counterfeit goods has become global in recent years.

The production and sale of counterfeit goods is a global, multi-billion dollar problem and one that has serious economic and health ramifications for governments, businesses and consumers.

Counterfeiting is everywhere -- it can affect what we eat, what we watch, what medicines we take and what we wear -- and all too often the link between fake goods and transnational organised crime is overlooked in the search for knock-offs at bargain-basement prices.

According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), counterfeit goods make up 5 to 7 per cent of world trade.

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states that up to 200 billion US Dollars of international trade could have been for counterfeit and pirated goods in 2005, and around 250 billion US Dollars in 2007.

It is estimated that the growth in counterfeit electronics has more than doubled between 2005 and 2008.

Among the causes for its growth are many: more of the world's manufacturing is being transferred overseas, the growth in internet e-commerce sales, and the fact that consumers hit by the recession will seek out lower-cost items.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime website, one of the most harmful forms of counterfeit goods is fraudulent medicines, with sales from Asia to South-East Asia and Africa alone amounting to some 1.6 billion US Dollars per year. It is estimated that one third of malaria medicines used in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are fraudulent.

Around twothirds of counterfeits (medicines and other goods) detected globally in 2008 were shipped from East Asia. Criminal organisations are often involved beyond just producing and moving counterfeit goods, with many also trafficking drugs, firearms and people.

Counterfeit goods is a serious issue in developing and underdeveloped countries. Early 2012 the Confederation of Tanzania Industries has said that counterfeits cost the government losses of between 15-25 per cent of total domestic revenue annually, and between 540/- and 900/- billion ($343 million and $566 million) annually in tax evasion related to counterfeits and substandard goods.

The government, different NGOs and different private firms are working hard to fight the war against counterfeit goods.

One of the leading electronic cellular company, Samsung Electronics Tanzania, is part of the private firm which continues with its on-going global war against counterfeit, refurbished, stolen, and non-warranty products.

Recently, Samsung Electronics Tanzania has called on all customers and users of Samsung phones who have not yet registered their mobile phones on the e-warranty platform to do so, in order to enjoy a 24-month warranty and other exciting services and offers from the electronic giants.

The e-warranty platform of Samsung Electronic Tanzania, offers customers the unique opportunity of checking any of their Samsung product purchase, whether they are original or fake products.

Samsung Electronic Tanzania in its war against phony products went an extra mile by launching its Service Centre at the heart of the city - Kariakoo.

The bold move is part of Samsung ethos whereby all Samsung customers who have registered their mobile phones on the e-warranty platform will receive the best electronics repairing services that would suit their approach and preferences.

The Samsung Service Centre uses the approach to deliver quality after-sales service by having a specialized technician, rapid delivery mechanism, no service charge during warranty period and home delivery services.

The Samsung Tanzania Service Manager, Mr Mubarak Mikidad, stressed on how Samsung made registration on the ewarranty platform very easy and convenient. "Currently customers can register using their mobile phones irrespective of their mobile service providers.

Customers are therefore urged to continue registering their phones on the e-warranty platform by sending the phone's 15 digit IMEI number to the short code 15685 across all networks.

The IMEI number can be found on the phone's packaging or by dialing *#06#, it can also be seen in the empty battery slot on a white label noting IMEI," he explained.

Last year the confirmation by Samsung Electronics East Africa chief operating officer Robert Ngeru effectively meant that customers buying genuine Samsung products from the authorised dealers would continue enjoying their peace of mind.

Dubbed the Samsung Smart Care, customers buying original Samsung products can easily activate their 2-Year warranty using an electronic activation system for all hand held devices.

The warranty, already rolled out via Samsung Uganda's EWarranty platform also allows registered handset owners to win a range of attractive prizes in monthly draws. In addition, local customers purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S4 are also enjoying the unique Accidental Damage from Handling (ADH) warranty, covering two screen damages or two liquid damages or a screen and liquid damage within the 2 years warranty period.

The ADH warranty is activated only when the consumer registers their phone via E-warranty. As the market leader in East Africa, Samsung Electronics is pursuing an active customer service enhancement programme which also focuses on raising the quality of its after sales support capacity.

With a two-year warranty, Samsung has further managed to raise its value proposition for its customers who enjoy better value for money. In a market suffering from an influx of Counterfeit and Gray products that don't carry any warranty, Samsung customers will enjoy the value of a two-year Warranty backed by a dedicated service support system.

According to the Electronics Purchasing Strategies website, black -market sales of counterfeit and substandard cellphones are a US$6 billion a year problem, a new in-depth report into the global counterfeit phone problem has found.

The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF's) report is the most comprehensive analysis of counterfeit and substandard cell phones in the world to date and involves months of analysis by the world's major cellphone brands.

"Research estimates sales of around 148 million counterfeit or substandard cellphones in 2013 through visible retail sites, with many more expected via unofficial retail outlets, online auction websites and local black markets," MMF Secretary General Michael Milligan said.

In India alone counterfeits make up more than 20 per cent of the cellphone market, causing US$1.5 billion annually in lost sales, $85 million direct tax losses and $460 million indirect tax losses.

"Counterfeit phones are made with cheap sub-standard materials and have been shown to contain dangerous levels of metals and chemicals like Lead," Mr Milligan said.

People often unknowingly purchase fake cellphone products on the internet when trying to find a cheaper price. The website http://www.spotafakephone. com helps identify and avoid potentially dangerous fake cellphones, batteries and chargers.

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