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Thread: Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

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    Default Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

    Just thought I would share a recent experience. I am generally a bit weary of eBay. Being a watch geek as well, I am aware of a lot of fakes in circulation, particularly on sites like eBay, and I have a lot of friends who have received counterfeit products such as watch bands, sunglasses, electronics, and even clothing. So I like to steer clear of the sub 99.5% powersellers from S.E. Asia in general.

    As I live some ways away from local Lamy dealers, I have been forced out on the web to find my fix. I like to promote local retailers whenever possible, but the prospect of saving a few bucks does soften the blow a bit. Long story short, I found a small time dealer (~200 sales in the last year) with 100% feedback from Israel who sold the charcoal Safari with fine nib I was looking for. Including shipping and a converter I paid what I would have over the counter, so no screaming deal, but reasonable none the less.

    When it arrived I immediately had a bad feeling, as I thought they had forgotten the converter. It turs out it was already mounted in place of the customary, complimentary cartridge. That doesn't mean the pen is used, but felt odd. The cheery blossom box it was delivered in offered better protection than the original packaging, which was included, flattened, with the pen.

    Removing the cap, the nib struck me as very shiny, rather than the black I was expecting, and for a moment I thought it might have been a regular chrome nib. At this point I started comparing it with another Safari I had and the small differences started to stand out (though, admittedly, the genuine safari left something to be desired as well, when scrutinized).

    At this point I was absolutely convinced it was a fake, and I contacted the seller requesting an immediate refund. He claimed to be unaware, but with me slowly losing patience, he eventually refunded. I did not offer any specific "proof", as I suspect this might be forwarded to the factory and remedied, which I don't want to be a part of. I can't imagine he is genuinely unknowingly dealing with fakes, though it wasn't until I pointed out that buying "made in Germany" products from a factory in China would be a dead giveaway. Anyway, there are already sites comparing fakes similar (identical?) to the one I bought, so I thought I'd share my findings here.

    Some things can be noticed from pictures in the listing, though the differences are a bit subtle, and they might not post pictures of the actual product. To me, the stand-out feature was the "X" on the cap, which is much less distinct on the couterfeit (on the left)



    The same goes for the rest of the printing, i.e., logo and "Germany" text on the bottom.

    When I got the pen, it was the nib I noticed. This difference is presumably much smaller with pens with silver nibs, but the text alignment and length of the slit still sticks out (fake on the right).



    What sealed the deal though, was the fact that it, unlike all my other Lamys, was untested. Every other pen I have has always had some ink residue on the tip (fake on the right).



    Once I received my refund, I figured I would put the pen to the test, and if there was any doubt before, there certainly wasn't now. The cartridge didn't puncture, because it seated too deeply in the pen, requiring either manually mounting the cartridge or using the supplied filler. I chose to try the filler instead. The mechanism was much more rough than my genuine (even though it was hard to distinguish the two, visually), and because the seal leaked, it only filled about 50%. When writing, well, to say that it was wet would be an understatement. The ink blotted and wetted through the paper. Every time i removed the cap I would be greeted by a splash of ink, both in the cap and on the grip. Not that I would have recommended this pen to anyone, but the differences went beyond the origin of the pen, and the morality of the seller.

    Finally, I suspect it might have been made from a different plastic - A genuine Safari is made from ABS which has a melting point of just over 100C, but this pen didn't melt at all until far above 200C. This is the result after a few minutes in 250C.



    The moral of the story, I guess, is be careful. Even the cheap stuff can be counterfeit, and there is always a profit to be made if the volumes are large enough. The same seller also had limited edition safaris for sale, which were much more expensive.

    Here is another site on the subject

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    Senior Member picautomaton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

    Love the heat test. I have a Jinhao 'Safari' which is more of a homage. Yours was just fake, good work on the end result.

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    Default Re: Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

    I have been a Lamy Safari fountain pen owner and user since the 80's, I have 2 of their pens - both Safari - in fine and 1.5 mm nibs.
    The Safari have always worked flawlessly, and are a great workhorse of a pen.

    Your description of why you considered this particular pen a fake has me perplexed.
    It seems inconclusive, though I admit I am not a Lamy expert.
    I do know that there are Lamy experts around and understand that there have been many changes in the manufacturing process at Lamy.
    Here is an example of that expertise:
    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/fo...-safari/page-1

    Is it possible that the product you received was merely the result of a different manufacturing batch from Lamy?

    I'm wondering why you didn't contact Lamy with your complaint. It seems that they would have been able to fully address your assertion that this pen was a fake. Certainly better than your destructive testing methods. And I'm sure that they would like to know if there is a vendor selling fake Lamy's. In addition, I'm sure that Lamy would like to have serviced a loyal customer of their products.

    Fountain Pen manufacturing is on the decline, and in a shrinking market, the good producers need to hear from their customers, or they will simply leave the marketplace for more profitable markets.

    See this Interview with Dr. Lamy and factory tour from 2004, which speaks to the shrinking market and very difficult competition in cutting costs of manufacturing (that was over 10 years ago):
    http://www.caprafico.com/en/pen-88/2...erview-factory

    Further, demanding a refund from the seller and then destroying their product hardly seems appropriate.
    Though you ensured that you were not out any money, you put the seller's integrity in question and also ensured them a financial loss for the transaction.

    Again, in a shrinking market, Fountain pen sellers are getting increasingly hard to find. We should be finding ways to support both manufacturers of the products we like, and the distributors and sellers in making a reasonable profit, if we want these products to continue to be available.

    I mean no disrespect, just question whether this was the best way to resolve your issues with the pen and vendor.

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    Default Re: Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

    I agree that had I been in doubt of the authenticity of this pen, what I posted would have been a series of very bad ideas, but I was not. The pen was a fake. I am familiar with the various generations of the safaris. I own several already. This also happened to be one of two identical pens I bought within days of each other, both new, but from different vendors on eBay. One reputable, one not. I agree that they are great workhorses, and for me, too, they have always worked flawlessly. That is why it was so easy to conclude that this was a fake, even before comparing it directly with a genuine. Hence, my primary complaint is exactly that it is not a Lamy, despite the description and the markings on the pen. There is no uncertainty.

    I realize the rest of this may be redundant, since I read your reply to be based on the possibility that it may not be a counterfeit, but I'll adress your other points anyway, in case I misread -

    I doubt Lamy would service me beyond, perhaps, confirming that it was a fake, and even if they did, my gripe would be with the seller, not Lamy. I also think that counterfeit pens are doing a lot of harm to Lamy and the market in general, not just by taking market share, or undercutting prices, but by damaging their brand name. If I had thought this was the quality of a genuine Lamy, I would have never bought a Lamy again. If I had thought this was representative of the writing experience with a fountain pen, I may have never bought another.
    I believe it is perfectly reasonable to demand and expect a full refund when given a fake pen instead of a genuine. In general, it is also reasonable for the seller to ask for the pen back, but if so, it is equally reasonable that the seller pay for the return postage. (I don't agree that it is reasonable in the case of fakes, since selling fakes, at least in Europe, is illegal). The seller did not want to pay for return postage, and I did not want to use or own the pen.
    I do not see the benefit, even on a shrinking market, of sellers of counterfeit products, especially marketed as genuine. Buying counterfeit products do not support the manufacturers of the genuine pens. I am very happy to have one less fake product in the world.
    I appreciate your concern for the bigger picture, which I also share. As per your suggestion I will give my feedback to Lamy.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fake Lamy Safaris on eBay

    I have a very strong desire to go melt a pen.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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