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The Skinny on Internet Tennis Racquet Purchases

Buying a new racquet on the internet? Here’s a bit of news that may surprise you.

Fake sports products, including tennis racquets, shoes, apparel, strings and other accessories have invaded many sites on the world-wide-web. Unfortunately, this is an epidemic that we all try to believe does not exist. That is, until it happens to you.

Authorized dealers can never be sure how much money they may be losing to sales of fake products since it is only when a racquet is placed on a machine for restringing that they come face-to-face with a deception. And customers are often unwilling to admit they were taken in by too-good-to-be-true deals they found on the internet. No matter how many eyes are diverted from the problem, it does exist for tennis and the sporting goods industry as a whole. The tennis industry alone estimates, consevatively, that legitimate dealers are losing $30 million a year to fake racquets.

Racquet Sports Industry’s Kent Oswald has reported that steps have been taken to drive the counterfeiters out of the business. Last spring, the United States Department of Justice seized more than $1.5 million in proceeds as part of a crackdown on counterfeit merchandise codenamed Operation in Our Sites, begun a couple years ago to fight intellectual piracy on the internet. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice “celebrated” Cyber Monday by taking down 127 domains selling bogus sporting goods. In both cases, tennis merchandise was part of the scam.

And in a critical development, top apparel brands have recently won millions of dollars against websites selling counterfeit products – and the courts awarded them the money from the culprits’ PayPal accounts. Previously, it was nearly impossible to recover money from defendants, but an initiative implemented by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allows the Dept. of Justice to recover funds collected via PayPal as well as money transfered from PayPal accounts to bank accounts in other countries.

Additionally, the Tennis Industry Association’s Retail Panel has taken steps to bring the problem to the forefront with a “Counterfeit Racquet Alert” that includes the website https://www.tennisindustry.org/alert/index.cfm to help consumers, and to have retailers become “verified dealers.”

Despite all the efforts put forth by all of these agencies, there remains an explosion of internet shopping sites popping up, with the majority from China, that offer discounts and amazing deals, and these sites are illegal. They hurt the industry on every level as well as the unknowing consumer who just wants to play tennis with the best equipment available.

And because counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of purchasing from an authorized, verified dealer. If you get a product that looks suspect, here are some things you can check...

 Racquets – 1) Check graphics carefully for “mis-spellings”, questionable paint jobs, and other cosmetic miscues. 2) Compare published racquet specs as the weight and balance. 3) Listen for any rattles or loose parts inside the frame. 4) Poor quality grips – in material and application.

Clothing and Shoes – 1) Consider “hand feel” of the garment, of the “interior construction” and “comfort” of the shoe. 2) Look for shoddy stitching or missing, poorly designed labels.

Strings – 1) Look for manufacturer’s stamp on the string and make sure of correct brand name, model name and gauge. 2) If there is a question, check for industry updates or file a report @ “Counterfeit Racquet Alert”.

Posted by Steven White, Author and illustrator of Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933794240

Views: 58

Tags: counterfeit, internet, racquets, scams

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Comment by Joshua Roberts on November 28, 2012 at 11:22am

LOL Sorry, shoulda checked my spelling. :) Im new at the store, having gf trouble,  im sick, and I was eating while typing.... Thats my excuse and im sticking to it ;)

Comment by Tim Prapong on November 27, 2012 at 1:56pm

Tecnifiver? (Tecnifibre) Donlop? (Dunlop) Which are real Chinese, and which are fake Chinese? lol

Comment by Joshua Roberts on November 27, 2012 at 9:54am

I work at a tennis store and we have seen fake products come in from customers coming in to get their racquets strung. Our girls who string have played competition since they were young. They know by the feel and look that its a fake. One guy came in and said he paid full price on the internet.

Hey Tim, all the racquets that we carry (Babolat, Technifiver, Donnay, Donlop, Head, and Volkl) are made in China, the only one made elsewhere is Yonex, and its made in Japan!

Comment by Joe B. (BP, CA) on November 26, 2012 at 5:07pm

So this Donlop 8,000,000 Tour I bought recently is not real???

Comment by Steven White on November 26, 2012 at 6:29am

Too funny Tim...Present company excluded of course !

Comment by Tim Prapong on November 26, 2012 at 12:37am

Damn those Chinese! They're shameless making fake French racquets everyone wants. lol

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