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More Specialized Fakes Turning Up

Published November 30, 2008

MORGAN HILL, CA (BRAIN)—The current batch of counterfeit Specialized Tarmac framesets circulating the Internet isn’t the first time Specialized has dealt with sales of fake products, but it is the brashest case the supplier has seen, according to Mark Schroeder, director of engineering for Specialized.

“Specialized is one of the more popular brands to copy in China,” Schroeder said. “We have long been the target of counterfeits in China, but this was on low-end bikes that stayed in China. This is the first time we have had a high-end product so blatantly ripped off.”

Specialized issued a press release recently detailing the fake S Works Tarmac framesets that its investigators started discovering on eBay and Craigslist earlier this year.

They are blue and red 2007 and 2008 frames and forks in sizes 52 and 54 centimeters with no serial numbers on the frame and/or fork or a fork serial number starting with K85L, or a headset carbon cone with FSA logo.

The fake frames are near duplicates of the Outside 3D frame shape, but the composite construction is different, meaning an outside factory is responsible for their production, Schroeder said.

“These frames are not being sold/diverted out the back door of our factory, but are instead being made somewhere else. Where we do not know, nor have our investigators been able to find this counterfeit factory,” he said.

They do know that the factory is in Taiwan or China as many of the customers who have purchased the fakes said the frames were shipped from China. Specialized also has reports of people buying counterfeit framesets while in China.

There is no way for Specialized to estimate the number of fake frame sales, and it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of the issue.

“The problem with tracking down the factories and sellers in China is that the Chinese government is unwilling to cooperate at the level we need to solve the problem. We proactively try to shut down sales on eBay and other sites through our team that monitors fake Internet sales. We monitor these sites every day but the problem is we can’t stop every auction.

Schroeder said counterfeit S Works Pave seatposts have also been discovered and that counterfeit clothing is also a huge problem for the company.

The company posted a notice on its Web site this week informing consumers that they only way to guarantee the authenticity of Specialized bikes and products is to make purchases through an authorized Specialized dealer.

Anyone with any questions regarding the authenticity of a Specialized product, should contact Specialized customer service at (877) 808-8154 or store_customerservice@specialized.com.

—Nicole Formosa

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