Italian bike brand Pinarello closed down 16,000 online auctions for counterfeit versions of its products – popularly dubbed ‘Chinarellos’ – in three months, BikeRadar has learned.
It also prosecuted four Germans and three Belgians for buying fake goods and selling them on to other consumers. One of the Belgians was even fined for blending fake with real products in his shop and providing fraudulent invoices for the dodgy goods.
Luciano Fusar Poli at Pinarello said that in the three months from November 2013 to January 2014, it had closed 16,000 auctions – which represented around 38 per cent of the identified forgery market. Despite the success rate, Poli insisted the battle against the fakers was far from won.
“They are very dangerous, really dangerous,” Fusar Poli told BikeRadar of the forgeries, which aren’t subjected to the same safety tests as genuine frames, and cause damage to the prestige brand. “The problem is that there is not only supply, there is a consumer too, and there is demand. We have to demonstrate to our distributors that we are doing something, otherwise there is more loss of confidence.”
Last year, Pinarello hired Convey, an online anti-counterfeiting specialist, to close down auctions for fake goods. Prior to the appointment, Pinarello was facing 42,000 auctions for fakes, around 50 per cent of which were for knock-offs of its flagship 65.1 road frameset. One counterfeit merchant had even sold €290,000 worth of products. But by the end of January 2014, the number of fake auctions had declined by 16,000. The down trend has continued through 2014, Poli said.
Besides Convey crawling sites for forgeries and close them down, Pinarello has issued EU, Japanese and American customs officials with lists of problem auctioneers and notices to check any shipment box with paperwork indicating that there could be a Pinarello inside.
In Europe, Fusar Poli said Pinarello was determined to catch unscrupulous buyers who are trying to sell on fakes for a profit.
He said: “So far we have already launched lawsuits against four German consumers because they imported fakes. It’s illegal to import fake goods, and we have three in Belgium too. We already won in seven cases of people who sold the bike in Belgium. They arrive in Belgium, they clear customs and they sell them on from their home. We have sentences against them.”
Fusar Poli said each guilty person was fined several thousand Euros and ordered to pay court costs.