Local reseller, Knightcorp IT, has been caught with counterfeit Cisco equipment on its books.
The company runs the website,
"We buy large volumes of secondhand equipment from all over the world. In this case, we bought a small amount from a supplier out of Hong Kong and it turned out to be counterfeit," he said. "Cisco obviously has a major issue with this in regards to its reputation and it affects us too, as a specialist in second-hand Cisco equipment."
A Cisco spokesperson said the case had been investigated after a report was made to Cisco's Brand Protection team about suspicious pricing. This global team specialises in counterfeiting and intellectual property issues.
"Because our customers expect the highest-level of satisfaction when purchasing Cisco products we actively monitor the counterfeit market," the spokesperson said. "Counterfeiting is not a new phenomenon for the IT industry." Cisco took the Melbourne based business to the Federal Court of Australia over the issue. As a result, Knightcorp took out national advertising, apologised to the vendor and pledged that it would cease buying from sources in Hong Kong and China.
Knightcorp has also agreed to pass on the details of any other supplier that appeared to be dealing in counterfeit goods to Cisco. "Counterfeiting is an illegal act that we take very seriously," the Cisco spokesperson said. "It represents a risk to our ability to deliver superior customer service and support, and ultimately degrades our brand." Knight said some of the counterfeit equipment on the market was nearly impossible to discern from genuine Cisco kit.
Without getting major Cisco techs involved, it's sometimes almost impossible to tell the difference between counterfeit and original," he said. "What's come out of this for us is awareness and an understanding that the majority of problems seems to come from China so we have agreed to stay away from that market."
But despite the slap on the wrist, Knight said buying second-hand Cisco kit was still a viable business. "As a company buying and selling all over the world, it's almost impossible to be sure this sort of thing won't come across your desk at some stage. How you manage it, however, is the real difference," he said. "I think that most of the larger resellers of second-hand equipment provide good warranties and are well-established." The Cisco spokesperson said that all of its channel partners were contractually required to buy product via authorised channels.