How To Spot an Imitation Charger

There have been a number of illegitimate AC adapters that have been floating around, posing as an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) or OEM product. Although we believe that no one would knowingly purchase a forged or counterfeit product, it could easily happen without proper understanding of the signs.

Why Legitimacy Matters

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines counterfeit as “made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive.” If a company is manufacturing a product and printing another company’s name, certifications, and specifications on that product without consent, it’s considered counterfeit. While this act is illegal, it can also be very dangerous, especially when it comes to products in the technology space.

When purchasing Chromebook replacement parts, safety is a major concern because it can impact students. When Chromebooks are transported between the classroom and home, the product takes quite a bit of wear and tear. If the product is already being represented unethically by being counterfeit, the reliability of these AC adapters should also be questioned.

In this article, we’ll use one of our ODM offerings as an example and we’ll provide tips on what to look for to verify if an AC adapter is counterfeit or legitimate.

Learn More About the Supplier and Their Ethics

There are many AC adapters on the market, so how do you know if the supplier you’re getting a product from is selling legitimate products? Start by looking at their catalog to understand the breadth of options available. Do they clearly state if a product is OEM, an OEM pull, ODM, or aftermarket? These types of differentiators show that the supplier knows and is deciphering the difference within their system.

It’s also important to understand where the product ultimately comes from. For AC Adapters, OEMs like Acer, Asus, Dell HP, and Lenovo, typically source their chargers from an ODM. You can learn more about that here. eduPARTS is a proud authorized reseller for the most popular Chromebook OEMs and is also an authorized reseller for the top two ODMs, LITEON and Chicony. In fact, eduPARTS is the only authorized reseller of LITEON AC adapters in the United States. This means that if LITEON AC adapters are available elsewhere in the market, checking their legitimacy would be a good idea prior to purchase.

Compare Labels to Ensure Authenticity

The label printed on the AC adapter holds a lot of important information. We’d suggest comparing the label you’re contemplating buying to a verified authentic label.

Let’s take two LITEON charger labels, as an example:

Genuine ODM LiteOn AC Adapter

Counterfeit Charger

In the top photo you’ll see a genuine ODM LITEON label that was taken from one of the products available on our website. Below it, you’ll see another charger with the LITEON logo. When you look at them side-by-side, it’s easy to see that the logo is nearly the only thing they share.

How do you find a legitimate product to begin the comparison process? If you’re looking to purchase an OEM product, take a look at the AC adapter that was deployed with the Chromebook originally. That will help you navigate the verification. If you want a replacement that was created by the Original Design Manufacturer like LITEON or Chicony, we have partnerships with both, so we’d be happy to help.

Once you have a legitimate product to begin the verification process, take a look at the label to analyze the printing of the information. Legitimate AC adapters typically have very clear and crisp printing, meaning anything that looks blurry is a sign that it could be counterfeit. Next, read over the label for misspellings. On an ODM or OEM part, typos will not go overlooked. Make sure to look not only at written words, but also typos that may occur in forged logos as well. Another important detail to look at are the certifications, and more specifically, the UL Certification symbol. A UL Certification ensures the charger performs effectively and up to safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), whose mission is to make the world a safer place for everyone. Their certification is industry-standard across a number of sectors, and with their stamp of approval, you know you’re getting the quality you can count on.

Dive Into Why There’s a Price Discrepancy

If there is a drastic difference in price between identical products from two different suppliers, it should make a consumer do a double take. While it may be tempting to purchase a product that is significantly cheaper per piece, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself why it’s that much cheaper.

OEM and ODM products go through rigorous testing and are backed by safety certifications. They are developed with specific Chromebooks and Chromebook models in mind to charge the devices effectively. It’s safe to say counterfeit AC adapters likely did not go through the same level of testing as the legitimate versions, and therefore can lower the price tag per piece. While the price may be tempting, ultimately, counterfeit products are simply not worth the risk, especially since they are deployed to students.

If you’re in need of AC adapters for your school, eduPARTS has you covered. Our partnerships OEMs and the top two ODMs, LITEON and Chicony, plus our dependable aftermarket AC adapters, provide you with a lineup of safe and legitimate options to meet your needs.

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