Packard Bell has uncovered a rash of fake Packard Bell PCs and warns that other major vendors could be hit by similar scams.
The company has involved the NSW Office of Fair Trading and the NSW Police in tracking down the people responsible. The scam was worked by an unscrupulous assembler putting together PC components, and housing them in second-hand Packard Bell cases, sourced from a US warehouse.
Farley Bartholomeusz, sales and marketing director of Packard Bell Australia, estimated around 1000 of the fake PCs had been sold.
The assembler of the bogus PCs has predominantly targeted smaller resellers - many in NSW country towns - but fakes have also surfaced in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The scam surfaced when buyers contacted Packard Bell for service. "The machines had no Packard Bell serial number," Bartholomeusz said.
"We soon realised there was a problem in country towns and contacted the local newspapers," he said. "When one local newspaper ran the story of the fake PCs, we were contacted by 45 people on the first day who had bought fake Packard Bell machines."
In some cases buyers were able to take the machines back to the reseller and obtain a refund.
Of greater concern was that some unscrupulous resellers were passing off cheap clone PCs as genuine Packard Bell machines, even though there was no Packard Bell badge on the machine.
"They tell the unsuspecting buyer that even though there is no Packard Bell logo, the machines were made by that company, but sold without the logo because they were, 'end of model run-outs that they want sold cheaply'," Bartholomeusz said.
"We are very focused on the retail channel," he added. "If people are doing this to us, they may also be doing it with other name brands."
Packard Bell sells through major retailers including Harvey Norman, Dick Smith Electronics and Bing Lee, as well as department stores including Myer Grace Bros.
Resellers that suspect they are being offered fake Packard Bell products should contact the company directly.
Tel (02) 9700 5000
Fax (02) 9317 2406