I'm an owner of a pair of Bang & Olufsen A8 earphones, which I bought from a B and O store. However, I've had them over a year now and the sponge covers on them have started to wear so I thought I'd see if any replacement sponge covers could be bought on eBay.
What I've found is tons and tons of fake A8s for sale - many from the far East, and lots from UK sellers. I'd therefore advise anyone interested in buying a pair of these earphones to be VERY careful when purchasing from eBay. The retail price is currently £90 and if you appear to be getting them for anything less than around the £70 mark (for a new pair) then be wary, as it's likely you're purchasing counterfeit goods.
Things to look out for:
- The stopper/finish at the end of the 'arm' on each earphone
Many of the fakes I've seen on eBay have a silver finish, where in fact the genuine article has a black stopper. You should have three black rubber covers over the arm, and a black stopper at the tip. If it's silver, you're buying a fake
- The Bang & Olufsen 'Logo'
The name on the side of the earphones should be in dark grey/black text. Many fakes have a sort of 'embossed' finish, as if the name has been engraved into the earphones. This is an easy way to spot fakes
- Carry Pouch
The genuine earphones come with a real leather carry pouch. On this pouch, the lip is embossed with 'BANG & OLUFSEN' and all stitching around the case is perfect. Most of the fake articles have very poor looking stitching around the carry pouch, and the B and O name sometimes looks a bit iffy. Rest assured, every B and O product is made with quality in mind, and even the carry pouch will be perfect.
- Adjustable 'Spine'
99.9% of the fake items on eBay do not show the earphones extended. You'll see from the genuine article on the B and O website that the metal spine of the earphone extends to fit your ear. The extenders are like mini pneumatic pumps - very smooth to adjust. I very much doubt if the fake versions even slide at all.
Hopefully my warning will be of use to some people. I've had my earphones now for over a year and the quality has not diminished in any way. Also bear in mind that if you buy the item directly from a Bang & Olufsen store, you receive a two year warranty - amazing when you think that normally a pair of earphones never last more than a few months, let alone over two years!