In March, Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit Authority announced that they had raided shops in the capital’s Luthuli Avenue after Samsung made complaints to the authority.
As well as counterfeit smartphones, accessories such as chargers, replacement batteries, earphones and covers were seized. The total value was estimated to be above €70,000, or 8 million Kenyan shillings (Ksh).
Counterfeit batteries are particularly dangerous, as we discussed at our MWC19 launch in February. To cut production costs, low quality components are often used in counterfeit smartphones. These can contain hazardous materials, making them more likely to leak or explode. The potential harm to unsuspecting users is high, and in some circumstances even life-threatening.
Five people were arrested during the raid. Chief of the Anti-Counterfeit Authority, Ibrahim Bule, said:
“This is a crackdown that will continue. The agency has now focused completely on cracking down on all illicit and counterfeit products and will get rid of all of them from the market.”
Although this raid was prompted by complaints from a Samsung brand consultant, there were devices seized claiming to be from the likes of HTC, Nokia, Huawei and Sony too.
In April, another seizure in Nairobi resulted in the confiscation of 213 counterfeit mobile phones. With accessories also included in the haul, the total value was said to be close to Ksh10 million – over €88,000/USD 99,000 (based on prices for the genuine devices).
Seven traders were arrested, with the ACA claiming the street to be a “notorious hotspot for selling counterfeit goods in the city”. The authorities took the opportunity to remind the public to be wary of price differences, and to always demand authentic product warranties.
With the profit potential growing from the production and sale of counterfeit smartphones, governments and regulators alike need to stay vigilant and help protect their citizens from the many dangers associated with such devices. Learn how DeviceAssure can assist here.