How to avoid rip offs & fake JDM car components

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This guide is about how to avoid getting ripped off when buying 'JDM' components for your modified Japanese motor via ebay such as fuel pressure regulators, filters, injectors, turbos, electronics etc. All stuff that is very cheap to buy genuine in Japan and often the US as well, but very expensive over here. So the traditional choice has been 1 - Pay a fortune to import the Jap stuff yourself or 2 - Pay a UK supplier even more for the same gear. Of course, now with the online buying and ebay, things are a lot easier. There are now two other options 3 - Pay a far eastern ebayer very little or 4 - pay a UK ebayer/reseller a bit more than you would if buying direct.

The problem is that unless you are buying direct from a trustworthy online seller actually IN Japan, or from an authorised UK distributor, you may well end up with a fake. Luckily it's very easy to avoid the pitfalls if you want genuine stuff, and contrary to what you might think, far eastern fakes are NOT the same quality as the proper Made in Japan. Of course if you want to buy fakes/counterfeits that's your business, but please don't end up paying anything like full price for it - know what you're buying. If I find a £3500 Rolex watch on a Bangkok market stall, I might pay a fiver for it assuming it was a fake. But what if it was instead listed by a UK ebay 'powerseller' at £2500? It might be a cheap genuine item, or a hugely expensive fake. There would really be no way of knowing. All you'd have to go on would be the fact that it was in the UK already, and therefore you'd expect some sort of comeback if anything went wrong, plus also that it was still fairly expensive compared to the £5 Bangkok fake, so seeing as 'you get what you pay for' it might just be a genuine ebay bargain. So everything seems fine - you pay the £2500 for an item which the listing says is in let's say 'Sheffield' but then a few days go by and it's not arrived. Contacting the seller simply reveals that it's 'on the way' and not to worry. A week later a package arrives direct from Malaysia with your 'Rolex' watch on it. How gutted are you?! Your UK ebay seller has no actual trading address, no phone number that you can contact them on, emails go unanswered until you eventually get one saying that they can do a straight replacement if you are unhappy and then ask you to send it directly back to the supplier in Malaysia. And as everyone knows, ebay don't give two hoots (the politest way of putting it) about fixing these kind of rip-offs, especially not against a 'powerseller'.

Perhaps you think the whole thing sounds far-fetched? Instead of the Rolex, substitute a genuine JDM car part that costs £100 in Japan, £200 from the UK official distributor, £40 as a direct from Malaysia copy and then you see it on ebay, in the UK at £80. What do you do?

Here's how to avoid the pitfalls:

  1. Research the actual cost of your part if you bought it direct from Japan or from an official UK distributor (NOT EBAY).
  2. If the product you are interested in is cheap and supplied from abroad, it's a fake. It's your decision whether to buy it or not.
  3. If it's mid-priced and still good value, check that you're buying the genuine article - ONLY buy from the UK and before buying, contact the seller asking specifically if the item is in stock, at their premises in the UK right now. Ask about the warranty with it, is it 'no quibble'? I.e. if for any reason you are not happy they will take it back and give you a refund or replacement at their expense.
  4. I'll say it again because it's so important; even if the listing says the item is in the UK, it often is not. This is against ebay's rules but they do it anyway. If they won't give you a straight answer and state that they have the genuine product here in the UK, on the shelf, then don't buy.

Genuine ebay sellers will not give evasive answers or ignore your emails. They will happily tell you that they source their products direct from the manufacturer in Japan and will make their business and contact details known. Good luck!

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