Everything You Need To Know
About Asian Knock Offs
& The Ramifications Of Use
At the franchise show this November I was confronted by a young man who wanted to know why he should buy a programming tool from me when he can by the supposedly “same” tool for $200 on the internet from China.
Over the last several years the use of the internet has allowed people to compare pricing for almost anything. However what you see is not necessarily what you get, so buyer beware. Have you seen those too good to be true prices of $200 to $500 instead of several thousand on what appears to be an identical product, but of course it is coming from China or another Asian country?
None of the legitimate tools are made in China. Instead of the normal distribution channel it arrives by DHL so that it isn’t examined at customs for authenticity. Does anyone hear alarm bells?
The latest scam, aimed at the used car industry, is the sale of “counterfeit” transponder key programming tools. Not surprisingly all the counterfeit tools of a brand have the same serial number and although they use genuine looking copied original manufacturer literature to tout the machines, they are not updatable and are years behind in programming capabilities if they work at all.
Needless to say they are made from the cheapest parts they can find. The tools that have been counterfeited run the gambit from Zed-Bull (Turkey), Advanced Diagnostics and the Silca SBB (Ilco TKO in North America). It’s the same crooks that sell the fake Gucci, Coach or Louis Vuitton purses.
Now that more of these counterfeits have been purchased the reports of destruction are coming in fast and furious. As these phony tools age more and more ECU’s in cars are catching fire while the tools are trying to program keys.
Some of the tools just lock up, melt and destroy the OBD plug.
Some have melted the steering column wiring harness setting off the airbags and injuring employees.
These episodes caused thousands of dollars of damages in the blink of an eye and bodily injury. Who are you going to sue as you watch your savings go up in smoke?
If the tool causes injuries, like in a fire, you are personally responsible and will probably end up in jail. But don’t forget the lawsuit the employee is going to win over his injuries for which you will also be personally responsible.
So the bottom line is if you own one of these it’s a ticking bomb and no one knows when it will go off. But when it does the damage will be extensive and could be fatal.
Is it worth the risk of thousands of dollars damaging a vehicle or injuring an employee to save a few hundred?