The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
I just wanted to stress to everyone to do your homework on your purchases before you buy them. Knock offs are everywhere, and everyone stands at risk of this diabolical practice. My son and I were both victims this spring, and while the responsibility was ours, I thought others could benefit from our loss.
So, if you have suggestions on how to prevent our newer collectors from having this unpleasant experience, post here with your advice. Below is the email I sent to the organisers of the show we attended. Let's all do our part to prevent this from happening to others!
My son and I attended your show this year, and while only there for the knives, we were initially impressed with the show. However, afterwards, we realized that we were both taken in by a vendor selling knock off knives as the real deal. Now, as a collector, I realize that the responsibility for verifying the product is ultimately my responsibility, and I accept that, but I shudder to think how many other folks purchased items in good faith only to be taken in by a counterfeiter. My purchase was a Benchmade AT-1, with box...a well done knock off to be sure, but a counterfeit nonetheless. My son was similarly ripped off with a Boker knife from the same nefarious vendor. A truly disappointing experience and one that ruined the show for me and my son in a serious way.
Please don’t get the impression that I blame the organizers, or hold them responsible for my own lack of verifying my purchase. That is not the case. I would, however, like to ask/suggest a few things for the next show.
1) A person or people to randomly inspect dealer booths to look for knock offs. Random spot checks could help a lot to protect the folks that come to your event in good faith.
2) Free internet access in the venue so folks have some way to research their purchases. I know we had no access to the existing wi-fi.
3) A disclaimer in the vendor sign-up forms that mentions that counterfeiters will not be tolerated, and will be dealt with in an appropriate manner if discovered.
4) A booth/table where folks who think a vendor is selling counterfeit items can come to report knock offs.
If vendors know that counterfeiting is not supported, encouraged or permitted in your show, and that consequences shall arise from such actions, then that will go far in helping your patrons and supporters make their purchases with a degree of confidence and security. As I am sure you will agree, counterfeiting is a problem we all need to address and discourage, dealers and collectors alike.
I certainly hope you take this message as it is intended...some suggestions to protect your vendors, collectors and patrons, and not a condemnation toward you, your organisation or your members. I strongly believe this is an issue worth addressing, and sincerely hope you will consider this with the seriousness it deserves. If these suggestions are addressed in some way, I would be happy to attend next year and endorse your event on the many knife groups I am associated with. However, I cannot, in good conscience, support or endorse any event or organisation that supports or ignores counterfeiting, the proliferation of knock offs, or rip off artists posing as serious vendors.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, and would be happy to do what I might to help.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
What an important issue this is and BRAVO! A well written heartfelt letter to let them know that they should take pride in what is offered at the shows
I know it's ultimately our individual responsibility to check our purchases, but I think organizers should take at least some steps in preventing folks from getting ripped off. We all just have to do what we can! Anyone can feel free to use this, or parts of it if you have similar concerns or experiences with shows you attend. Don't let the rip-off artists win!
While I also agree on the "Buyer Beware" notion, I feel the organizers of a trade show have a reputation to maintain and should be checking on the sellers at an event. If others have had the same problems or if such a disreputable seller is reported then the people running the show should make sure such a seller is barred from future shows and his business should be reported to other shows organizers. There is no place in the world for swindlers and crooks.
An excellent letter, Steve. Let us know if you get a response.
Manx, I admire that you took responsibility for the purchases, but that seller should be held accountable as well. If he had the knives just sitting out there on their boxes, with the name "Benchmade" all over the place, that's pretty much an assertion that that was a Benchmade knife you purchased. The seller had a duty to inform you that they were not in fact Benchmades, but that didn't happen.
Avoiding it is something that sometimes takes experience, or skill, or an eye for detail, or a working knowledge of a product line, or a gut feeling, or something that doesn't pass the smell test ("A new Benchmade for $50?!?"), or sometimes just plain old luck.
I've been lucky, or at least lucky that I was able to learn a lot about lines of knives from a lot of manufacturers in a relatively short amount of time so I can usually spot a fake before wasting much time on it. Not always though.
And as you were alluding to, avoiding being taken is far better than having to try to get your money back, or complaining to the venue or show host. But I really liked that you suggested access to WiFi as a way to research a potential purchase before it's made!
At least that experience didn't sour you on knives overall!
A member on another forum was touting the praises for this site that offered a Cold Steel Trailmaster Bowie for $55 (Reg. $250) and was then surprised when they didn't send it to him. He then tried another site and they sent him a knife, that was supposed to be a SRK for $35 (Reg. $135) that he sent to Cold Steel for verification and was shocked that it was a fake. We all told him they were rip off, forgeries, Chi-Comm crap but there's one idiot born every minute as the saying goes. He kept bragging about all the knives he bought for 70% and 80% off and thinks he's getting the real deal.
There are too many people who think that it can't happen to them or are far too stupid to know a fake when it's presented to them. Sure, they are master forgers making identical knives--many of them the actual company that makes the original--that it is almost impossible to tell them apart.
What's been happening to many dealers is that they sell the proper knife to the customer who had purchased a fake of the same knife and he returns the fake for refund which you then get stuck with thinking that from a reputable dealer you wouldn't get screwed.
Ironic that this discussion is coming back up at this point. Manx is actually headed back to that same show this weekend. It will be interesting to see if the same vendor is there.
The bottom line in my eyes is that the person selling the fakes knows it. They would probably sell just as many by stating it is a knock off and having a way for the purchasers to try the knife out before buying it. Some of the fakes I have seen are good quality, just not what they are claiming to be
2 days away from this show again. I got absolutely no reply from the organisers of this event. Not even a "Thanks for your concern" note. I will be attending again this year, and will be looking for the vendor that falsely advertised his product. I am not seeking recompense, but will certainly have something to say if he is still selling fakes. It used to be that folks had pride in their reputations and products, now many are just money grubbing. A shame, yes, but what can you do?
Do your research, watch out for those "too good to be true" deals, and cover your butt. Lessons learned for future shows.
If the knife isn't made by Cold Steel, SOG, Buck, etc but has markings that say it is, it isn't a knock off, it is a counterfeit. If a knife looks just like a more expensive knife (for Instance all those "trackers" out there ) but doesn't claim to be the original then it is a knock-off or copy. I have no problem with knock-offs so long as no one is selling them as the original and proper royalties (if any) are paid. give respect to the originals!
Well, you should have heard the hue and cry by the Beckerheads at Blade Forum over the fact that Boker had a knife that had the same shape and handle design of a BK&T knife. They were calling for Boker's US reps head and wanting to file lawsuits.
Thing is, and as I pointed out, Ethan doesn't and never had a patent on his designs so anybody and their brother can make an exact duplicate and as long as they don't put Becker's registered trademark on the knife there is sweet bloody all they can do about it. e.g. the Buck 110 has been made by dozens of companies from really cheap to really expensive versions. Even if he had a patent on the handle, it would have expired years ago.
It is almost impossible to get a knife patented due to design unless it is truly radical, i.e. Besh Knives (http://www.beshknives.com/) and that's a trademark and not a patent that he freely offers other makers to use like Ka-Bar and Buck.
Boker discontinued the Chinese made knife, without fear of a lawsuit, because they are gentlemen and not frightened by cheap, parlor antics of sycophants.
As such, I've sold every BK&T knife I owned, (I had the complete lineup from when he worked out of a garage) and for quite a sizeable profit and bought other knives instead. I'll never buy another but I won't disparage the knives.
Well, the Buck 110 was actually copied from Boker who copied it from Puma (or the other way around). and they had been making it since the early 1950s (if not earlier).
Union Cutlery Co. (much later Ka-Bar) did not make the first USMC Mk 2 knife Camillus Cutlery Co. did and Union didn't even produce the most amount of them as Robeson (ShurEdge) Cutlery Co., and the PAL Cutlery Co. also made the knife under contract. They were the only ones to stamp them with their logo as that did not become their name until 1952.
Copies are fine and in many instances they are of better quality then the original--think Scagel and 2G Knives (http://www.2gknives.com/index.php/en/) or Bob Loveless and Bob Dozier *(http://www.dozierknives.com/) and S.R Johnson (http://www.srjknives.com/).
The idiotic moron in the first post is still bragging about getting knives for really cheap--branded and everything--failing to realize that they are fakes, forgeries, rip offs, falsely represented or whatever term you wish to use...Even after Cold Steel told him, in no uncertain terms, that he was scammed.
I have a red handled multi blade knife with a white Swiss cross on it that does not have either name listed on the tang but was being sold as such. The seller assured me it was until I brought out an original and showed him the differences--many differences. He gave me the knife and told me to bugger off or he would beat me. As I had witnesses, I called the cops. Uttering is a crime as is selling fakes. He is banned from the local knife and gun shows.
Great work but they would not ban him from a show here