Recently BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) released a warning against fake carriers. One of the contributers to the warning was Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe. He and his wife Melissa came and visited us at a meeting in Rigby recently and we love them and their products. But apparently they are awesome enough and original enough that someone, most likely out of China, has copied their design and is making an inferior product and is selling it to unsuspecting parents.
Unfortunately, TogetherBe is not the only company that is having trouble with the fake copies of their designs. Ergo, Hotsling and Moby are also dealing with it.
There are several issues here. First, it's illegal. These fake companies are not only stealing the design, they are stealing the logo, the photos and packaging design. And they are selling many of these fakes under the real brand name. Others, like TogetherBe, they have re-branded and claimed it's being made by another company.
The products they are making are inferior. Ergo, Hotsling, Moby and TogetherBe all make a great product that have great reputations. These copies are not safety tested and the fact that the people making them are making fakes in the first place should be an indication of how much they don't care for your baby's safety.
At the Rexburg meeting this month a mother brought in her fake Ergo. It came from the site http://www.ergobabybabycarrier.com/index.php. Compare that site to http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/, the real Ergo Baby site. Yes, the images are they same, but it's pretty easy to steal images.
So here's how the carriers compare. On the left is the Galaxy Gray Ergo from our lending library. On the right is the fake Ergo--that claims to be an organic, but I highly doubt it's anywhere near organic.
And the flip side.
One of the most obvious differences is the labels on the flip side. Here is the real label:
Pretty standard label. It meets all the labeling standards, I'm sure. It's even in a couple different languages. Also notice the address . . .
And the fake label:
Notice the typo. "Never nubuckle . . . " HUGE red flag! Ergo has been doing this for long enough now that they aren't going to let something like that get past them. And the fake label has no address or contact information. Another HUGE red flag! Labeling standards require an address.
There is also a slight difference on the woven label. Here is a real Ergo Organic label:
And the fake:
These are all very minor difference in comparison to the quality difference between the two carriers. The fake Ergo was inferior in quality to the point that it was not even close to the same carrier as the real Ergo. The fabric was different, the webbing was different, the buckles were different and the stitching was sloppy. There have been reports of straps ripping and buckles breaking on the counterfeit carriers. In fact, Hamilton Radcliffe of TogetherBe easily ripped a strap of the fake FreeHand mei tai he bought to test.
You cannot tell from the photos on the website if the carriers are fake or not. The website photos are the same photos as the real site because that's where they were stolen from. Even the packaging is copied.
Bottom line is that if you are looking for a great baby carrier, you are most likely looking for a good deal as well. However, price should be a huge red flag for you. Ergo, like many reputable companies out there, has very strict pricing policies and they rarely go on sale. So if you do find a brand new Ergo for $78, it's most likely a fake. Ebay is not the best place to buy them, either. The best thing to do is go to the manufacturer's website and find the retailers through there. Do your research. Ask around. Call the real company. Talk to us about where to get your carrier. Don't get a fake and let the criminals take your money in exchange for a questionable product just to save a few bucks. The real thing is worth the extra money and then some.