Warning BABOLAT Counterfeit Tennis Racquets
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5 October 2009
I recently purchased a Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex Tennis Racquet from a seller on eBay. The item was promptly sent and packaged well. It was only after inspecting the item that I noticed the item was a very good counterfeit of the original.
Things to look for:
The original costs about £140 via an authorised high street shop. Counterfeit sellers on eBay are selling brand new items for less than 50% (£50-£70). This does not prove anything, but is a good indicator.
A good indication that your item is a counterfeit is that a swing ticket will come in Chinese. These are the product pamphlets that come attached to new tennis racquets. I suspect that the counterfeit manufacturer has make copies of the swing ticket that is sent out on originals in Asia.
The counterfeits racquets come with an assortment of stickers and hologram intentionally trying to make the item seem more authentic. They will often not be aligned properly and placed in locations that don't contain stickers on the original. If you also look at the original, there is only one serial number sticker.
If you look at the grommets (plastics that keep strings in place) they are generally shabby and made of a cheaper plastic. On the AeroPro Drive Cortex they should be grey on the original, but on the counterfeit they are black and torn in places.
On the AeroPro Drive Cortex logo above the grip, there should be a shiny silver lining. The counterfeit shows the logo with dull grey finish.
The moulded plastic yellow 'V' above the grip is not 100% aligned properly. You can also see bits from where it has been broken from the mould. The original should sit flush with side of the racquet and there should be no mould bits hanging from it.
The butt cap on the original authentic Babolat AeroPro Drive is a deeper red in color and contains an additional product code - generally 3 capital letters. There might be different codes etched into each genuine AeroPro Drive but the thing to generally look out for would be the deeper red color of the Babolat logo and a character code embedded at the bottom section of the butt cap.
The balance of the racquet is should quite even when resting it with one finger. But the counterfeit is extremely head heavy. This is a dead giveaway that cheaper materials have been used instead of the foam grip.
Also be careful of the 'bait and switch'. It seems that some sellers have displayed photos of the original purchased here in the UK, but will send you a counterfeit. Make sure you research the seller and ask questions to verify whether the item could potentially be a counterfeit.
There are several people who have done similar comparisons on the internet. If you do a web search you will find some.
I hope that you will not have the same experience that I have had and that eBay take significant steps to eradicating counterfeit goods.
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