How To Spot a Fake Vaporizer

How To Spot A Fake Vaporizer

Buying a vaporizer online can be a challenging task for the first time user. Wading through all of the options, doing all of the research and getting recommendations from experts can be quite time consuming.  The benefits of vaporizers have been well documented and have become an intergral part of many Canadians' daily lives; choosing an authentic vape is key to enjoying your cannabis.
 
Buying a vaporizer online can be a challenging task for the first time user. Wading through all of the options, doing all of the research and getting recommendations from experts can be quite time consuming.
 
Most of those issues can be resolved by contacting an online customer care department; they will guide you through the process and consult with you based on your usage habits.  The big hurdle, however, for a lot of beginners and seasoned veterans is navigating the world of fake vaporizers. No one wants to spend a significant amount of time, money and energy only to discover they have purchased a knock off vaporizer.  With the average vaporizer costing $200, you can imagine the sunken feeling of opening up your new product only to find out it isn’t authentic.
 
Many manufacturers have spent the last 10 years combating clone products by investing heavily in their legal pursuit of pirated goods.  The rise of Chinese e-commerce platforms like Alibaba have increased the amount of counterfeit goods seen in this space tremendously. Going after a $5.5 Billion North American vaporizer market is certainly attractive to many overnight companies wanting to make a quick buck on the backs of consumers.  Pax has been actively pursuing counterfeiters since it’s infancy, and in late 2013 won a $350,000 lawsuit against a company distributing Pax clones.
 
Getting stuck with a second rate device could be harmful to your health  Many imports do not officially receive any sort of standards testing in the local market.  In some cases this may expose the user to serious health and safety risks from electrical components, defective batteries, unprotected heating elements, and fire hazards.  Users could also experience issues with the potency of their vaping session, as fake devices are known for their inaccurate temperature settings.  As we discovered in the article "Best Temperature For Vaping Weed", each cannabinoid is activated at different temperatures in your vaporizer.  Choosing a device that does not have consistent temperature control will waste your herb and not produce your desired results. In short, it is harmful to both your health and your wallet.
 
What are some precautions you can take to avoid these issues and what should you look out for?  
 
There are two main factors that you will need to keep an eye out for when shopping online. The first is the website you are using to buy a vaporizer and the second is the actual products themselves.  The second piece is a little more complicated, as the subtleties of fake vapes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
 
The best way to avoid the disappointment of getting a fake vape is to not buy one, so let’s start with the website.  This shouldn’t be an all inclusive list in what you should look for in a fake website, however, if your source meets more than one of these criterion  I would urge that you proceed with a high amount of caution before hitting the checkout button.
 
Some websites are just known to be littered with cheap, unverified skus.  I recommend avoiding websites like DHL, eBay, Amazon and Craiglist for starters.  Pax specifically identifies the last three websites on their counterfeiting page as known sources of unauthorized products.  Other elements include:

  • Ensure the site you are buying from has an SSL certificate or is https. Most scammers don’t take the time to protect their websites from fraud
  • Contact info in the about us page; is their main contact using gmail account or does it have their companies extension?
  • Numerous spelling mistakes on their website and communciations to the customer
  • Un returned emails and phone calls from customer care
  • Inability to take credit cards online
  • Prices are 25%-35% lower than most sites

The above should be treated like a fraudulent website checklist.  If two or more boxes are ticked, proceed with caution prior to purchase.  To be sure, consider the look and feel of the site using your common sense ; if it looks fake it probably is!

 

Buy an authentic vaporizer!

 

The place where you buy your vaporizer is very important, but easier to identify.  The reality is that many counterfeit companies have evolved into clone making machines and some brands look identical to that of the original.


The devil, however, is in the details.  We will cover 4 of the most popular scammed vaporizers on the market today, however, the list is growing and all share common inconsistencies.  The first as we have discussed here is price. To understand how prevalent these dealers are in the market place here is a sample of an email that was circulating around national wholesalers a few weeks ago.

 

Fake Importer Email

 

These wholesale costs look like a great deal, but upon inspection it is clear that they are fake.  There are grammatical errors and even the content says “2 product prices” despite there being three skus. You can also tell by the low quality of the pictures that these were just cut and paste from a website.

Price can be used as a proactive method to spot fakes prior to purchase.
If you have purchased a product online or the website has detailed product pictures you can use these checks as a guide.

 

Packaging

 

As you will see in the examples below packaging is one of the biggest errors counterfeiters make in the production of the product.  So, much time is spent on perfecting the look and feel of the device, that they ignore the finer details in the packaging. In addition to this, the importer only has to worry about damaging a $40 sku versus the original manufacturer who has to worry about damaging a $150 sku.

Cheap plastic inserts compared to sleek moulded ones, spelling mistakes, inconsistent text font, matted stickers/box graphics, non branded adaptors, plastic film not protecting the digital screens and crudely shrink wrapped boxes are all common signs that the product you are getting is not original.  For example, a common Pax 3 error lists the design location as “San Francesco”, which is a dead give away. Fake Volcanoes do not have the Styrofoam punched all the way through to let the cord sit properly in the box. As you can see, a lot of these errors require a keen eye to spot them.
 
It seems that the company's manufacturing the copied vapes are always one step behind the original brand manufacturers.  The features and differences are always changing, but some older forgeries are still in circulation. Here is an overview of common differences by brand.
 

DAVINCI IQ
 
The differences in the DaVinici between the two skus are very subtle, so when you are spending your hard earned money on a higher priced portable like the IQ you want to look out for the following red flags on the fake units:

  • False device doesnt have a UPC sticker beside the one printed on the box
  • The box is a few shades darker than the original
  • Stealth mode and brightness of the LED lights cannot be adjusted
  • Key chain tool is black and not branded
  • Original includes a Panasonic battery while the fake has none or a different brand 

 

PAX 3 VAPORIZER
 
Price with these units is a dead give away and here are some of the other differences that have been noticed with the fake Pax of this kind are as follows:

  • Bluetooth will not pair with your phone
  • Inconsistent spacing of text on the inside of the device
  • Trademark symbols or print is tiny or blurry compared to the original
  • Adapter/USB cable does not have the four dash Pax symbol
  • Real Paxs are not shrink wrapped

 

THE MIGHTY VAPORIZER
 
A Mighty Vaporizer can be spotted in the following manner:

  • Coloring – an o-ring and the heating chamber’s plastic ring are a different color than are the originals (which is an odd combination of gray and beige).
  • Functions/display buttons – the LCD should be in pristine condition (no scratches). The buttons should not click loudly, but very softly.
  • Increase temperature buttons have thicker plus and minus signs
  • The Mighty symbol on the box is 2 D instead of a bolder balloon/3 D type text
  • Box is matted and not shiny
  • Roughly finished surfaces, sloppy alignments, etc.
  • BAP sticker-that one on back that contains the serial number – if the sticker on the back is poorly aligned and appears to be a cheap matte version, it’s fake.

Example of a fake Mighty
 
THE VOLCANO VAPORIZER
 
Due to it’s higher price point, this desktop the most pirated in the industry.  Making things harder, the clones for this model keep changing and are very close in their look and feel.  The performance and safety is where the differences are noticeable. For this vaporizer, definitely stay off DH gate or websites like this in google search:
 

 

Review the table below for a detailed view of the different features of authentic vs. fake Volcanoes

  

Feature Authentic Fake
Packaging The unit fits perfectly in the packaging without any issue. There is minor protrusion in the packaging as the unit is not packed 100% perfectly
The power chord is always wrapped around the unit and there is a zip tie at the base of the chord. The chord is not wrapped around the unit.
Unit The serial number of the unit and the box is always same. The serial number of the unit and the box is different.
The plastic top spins off but not easily. The top heating element can be screwed off very easily. Moreover, the color and quality of the plastic are also below average.
There is a thin protective plastic film on the digital readout. The plastic film of the digital readout is not clear.
There is a singular screws that holds stainless steel hood in place. The stainless steel hood is held in place with a combination of screws and washers.
You can see uniformity between the plastic bag and stainless steel hood. If you flip the unit upside down, you will see non-uniformed stainless steel hood.
Plastic feet of the unit do not fall easily. Plastic feet fall off too easily.
The back screw is flat. It is a Phillip’s head screw.
The heating element is polished and colored uniformly. It is not colored and polished uniformly.
The color of electric insert underneath the unit is grey, green and grey series. The color is grey.
Accessories The wrapping in the easy valve bag is done manually. Moreover, the bag’s clasp can be easily removed. The easy valve bag is wrapped with a machine.

 
For any vaporizer, you can email the company directly to find out if the serial number is unique and original.  This is the ultimate test, however, the guide should provide you with a reason to suspect the vape you have purchased is not real.  Storz and Bickel recommend you send your serial number to america@storz-bickel.com to verify your product.  To check to see if you Pax products are legit, open a ticket on their webite here.
 
What do you do if you find you have a fake vape? 

I hope by now you wouldn’t shop eBay or Amazon for your vaporizer, however, if you did get a false vape from these sites report them to the platform.  Also, contact your credit card company to dispute the purchase on put a hold on the transaction. Barring this, some credit card company’s additional coverage where they will refund you directly to a certain dollar amount.

 

It is important that no matter which vaporizer that you are buying, you should always buy from an online store that you trust.  Test the vendor; pirated vaporizers/fake websites do not have great customer service or advice to provide to their clients.

 

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