CBS News On Counterfeiting

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CBS news recently ran a segment on counterfeiting in China. According to one expert, 15 – 20% of all goods produced in China are counterfeit. Another called China the biggest criminal venture on Earth. Most amazing to me was the completely uncaring attitude of the Chinese

Basically, he said, “you’re going to have to live with it.”

I’ve seen figures that suggest that as many as 80% of the golf clubs sold on Ebay are counterfeit. I don’t think it is nearly that high, but even 20% would be scary if you were risking money.

The golf club manufacturers are understandably upset by the growth of counterfeiting. Every counterfeit club sold cuts into their profits, and also degrades their brand. A counterfeit “TaylorMade” that performs poorly will leave a player less likely to buy that brand in the future.

Still, I think that in some way, the manufacturers have brought this on themselves. With new drivers in the $400+ range, and irons in at $600+, manufacturers are practically begging people to take risks on discount clubs. The situation is only made worse with manufacturer restrictions that prevent retailers from offering sales and discounts. I always chuckle when I see a golf retailer ad for 10% off everything in the store. There is always an asterisk that says “except Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike, Adams, Ping, Cobra … and anything else you’d actually want to buy.”

The manufacturers could do a lot to increase sales and fight counterfeiting by significantly reducing the prices of the clubs. More palatable price from the manufacturers would reduce the incentive of players to risk Ebay. It also would encourage players to get the latest club NOW, rather than wait 6 months for the inevitable discounts after new models are released.

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