Sushi Fury

Sushi's personal blog.

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I got sold a fake USB flash drive on eBay. Here’s how I fixed my situation and how you can avoid this situation yourself.

So I was searching for a 32 GB USB flash drive, and I really like the Kingston DataTraveler 100 series (I have 3 of them). I found one on eBay for a great price. What I didn’t realize was that the Internet is infested with unscrupulous sellers trying to unload fake flash drives onto unsuspecting buyers. I happened to be one of those buyers this go-round.

I had the fake flash drive in my possession; what now? Lesson one, the most important thing: Immediately leave negative feedback for the seller and report the item on eBay as counterfeit. Why? Check out this awesomely informative article at SOSFakeFlash entitled Why Leave Immediate Negative Feedback For an eBay Fake Flash Seller?

Now, I normally give the seller the benefit of the doubt and try to work things out, but in cases of fraud it just makes sense to leave feedback first. Of course, the seller will complain, beg, maybe even bribe. But they deserve the negative, even if they unwittingly sold a counterfeit. And it appears that your odds of receiving a refund are improved by leaving negative feedback.

SOSFakeFlash has no evidence that holding back a negative improves the chances of a refund. The opposite has been seen.

Second, if at all possible, use a credit to make the purchase. See this article on SOSFakeFlash: Buying On eBay – MP Players – Memory Cards – USB Flash drives – Why You should Use A Credit Card To Pay And Not Your Bank Account. Fortunately I did, but I wasn’t forced to do a chargeback, as the seller immediately refunded my money after I posted the negative feedback. (Probably should’ve though just to stick it to him more.)

What’s a fake USB flash drive and why should anyone care?

A fake Gucci® handbag might be fine if you’re Asian and don’t care that everyone else knows you have a fake. A handbag doesn’t have a lot of specs other than to look like a replica and let you put shit into it.

A fake flash drive is a lot more involved. To use a car metaphor: Imagine you were sold a vehicle that supposedly had a 32 gallon gas tank. The salesperson claimed it, the owner’s manual says it, the fuel gauge even indicates that it holds 32 gallons. But when you go to fill it up, it only holds 4 gallons. Try to put more than that in, and gas obviously just spills out.

Ok, that was a shitty metaphor, but hopefully you get the picture. I was sold a 32 GB drive that was actually 4 GB that claimed to be 32 GB.

How to tell if a drive is fake/counterfeit

Before you buy, check the price with someplace reputable like Newegg. If the price of the one you’re buying is too low, it’s probably fake. Check out the video in this article at FlashChipTech: How Can You Spot Fake Flash Memory Chips? What Is the Key Factor That Determines If MP3 MP4 Players, USB Flash Drives Or Memory Cards Are Fake Capacity?

After the fact, you have some options. Check with the manufacturer. For Kingston flash drives, I found an informative page at FakeMemorySentinel with a very long title: Kingston USB Flash Drives. How To Check You Have A Genuine One And Not A Counterfeit – Easy Guide. Kingston Technologies Fighting To Protect Consumers And Itself From Counterfeits. Spoiler alert: Kingstons have serial numbers and other info engraved onto the outer part of the USB plug. There’s a nice diagram in the article. Or you can look at my photos below.

In general, though, you can tell a flash drive is fake by running H2testw (Windows only). Here’s what to do:

  1. Download h2testw from http://mympx.org/Downloads/p13_sectionid/2/p13_fileid/13.
  2. Plug in your flash drive. You don’t have to delete existing files; the program will work around them.
  3. Run h2testw. (General safety rule: make sure you have an antivirus installed and active, as should be the case at all times!)
  4. Click English, then [Select target] button, then select your flash drive. Click [Write + Verify] to run the test.
  5. The program will then test your flash drive and output something like the following:
    The media is likely to be defective.
    3.9 GByte OK (8215305 sectors)
    28 GByte DATA LOST (58721527 sectors)

    (…and several more lines)

This particular result was from testing my supposedly 32 GB flash drive. The test says 3.9 GB data ok and 28 GB data lost, which means that I actually have a 4 GB drive and 28 GB of nonexistent space.

If your numbers match up, then congratulations, you’re good!

The life of fake flash drives

Short story long, for the technically minded and those who like the show How It’s Made. I believe this is mostly accurate:

  1. Flash drives are made up of  (among other things) the memory itself and the controller that allows your computer to talk to the memory.
  2. Faulty memory chips get destroyed on a regular basis. Not wanting those defective chips to go to waste, a fake flash manufacturer redeems them from memory chip hell and gives them a new reason to go on living.
  3. They do so by reprogramming the controller to lie to the computer about its  size. In my case, I had a 4 GB memory chip being reported as 32 GB. The computer doesn’t know any better than what the controller tells it, so it writes willy-nilly to the memory, even going beyond the 4 GB capacity.”What?” you say, “Doubly faulty?” Why, yes! The memory isn’t only defective, but now it’s only partly there!
  4. They sell these fake flash drives at a discounted price from the real ones and hope that no one notices. Or, by the time anyone notices, they’ve made their money and you’re the sucker with a defective drive. (Fortunately I immediately got a refund. Many others have not been so lucky.)

Why does any of this matter?

In the grand scheme of things, preventable inconveniences are the most frustrating. Getting ripped off sucks, but what also sucks is that people are buying an inherently defective product. I’d hate to see anyone lose their data by using a counterfeit flash drive that some fucking douchebag made money on at your expense.

Maybe I’m chivalrous. Maybe I believe that, by looking out for others when I can, I’m improving the quality of my own life.

Details of my personal fake flash experience

I bought my USB flash drive from eBay seller dailydeals99. I checked out this guy’s feedback, 100%. Cool. I saw that he had 2 of the ones I wanted, plus several other various flash drives listed as well. When I received my item, I immediately noticed how suspicious looking it was. Of course, this comparison is a lot more difficult if you don’t have another one to compare it to.

After everything went down, I gave him negative feedback and he refunded my money. At worst, I felt a little guilty because the seller said he was honest (after all, he did immediately refund my money). Turns out, upon scrutinizing his feedback, he has had a lot of defective (fake?) USB flash drives. One buyer even reported that he got a fake but still gave him positive feedback because he got his money back!

I ended up buying a Patriot Xporter. I don’t like the separate cap, but I do like the rubber coating and the fact that Patriot is a kick-ass memory company.

The Patriot Xporter was supposed to replace an 8 GB flash drive I bought from FocalPrice.com (in Hong Kong) to exchange media with my friend via Snail Mail (because she doesn’t have Internet). I tested out the 8-gigger with H2testw, and it said that half a gig was defective! So it seems that FocalPrice is also selling defective flash drives. Which is a total bummer, because their chicken wing flash drive is fucking awesome! (Wonder where can I find a legit one of those?)

Links

Bonus: Email history with eBay seller dailydeals99

(After I tested the USB flash drive with H2testw…)

Dear dailydeals99,

You sold me a fake flash drive. This is completely unacceptable. I have tested with H2testw v1.4, and have visually compared the item you sent to the DataTraveler 100 I already have. I have reported you and I will be getting a refund.

Thanks.

(Response to my negative feedback…)

hello

why would you do that,first i dont sell fake usb, if you had a defective one, you could email me and resolve a problem, in my auction i specify my warantee for one year, do you think i would give warantee to something fake, i never had any problem with my usb nor i am selling fake, chinese in ebay do that by making their auction private, i dont do that, i buy from legitimate supplier.

if you dont mind try to retract so in my side i will leave positive feedback.

thanks

(So he’s denying that he sold me a fake? From me in response…)

Dear dailydeals99,

First off, I can’t speculate as to why you would sell me a fake or even offer a warranty on a fake, but the fact remains that YOU DID. Second, lying about not selling fakes (when you clearly sold me one) doesn’t help your credibility with me.

You need to check your “legitimate” supplier and complain to them about your negative feedback. I’m holding you responsible as a seller of flash media to not sell fakes, just as you would hold your supplier responsible if you bought fakes. You sell all sorts of flash media, so I find it hard to believe that you were unaware. Just from looking at the packaging, I immediately suspected it was a fake, and testing and visual comparisons confirmed it.

I’m open to discussion regarding the feedback. Please explain to me why you feel that my feedback was unfair.

(Explanation from dailydeals99…)

hello

look you are right on all waht you said except selling you and me knowing that i sold you a bad usb, i went to show in hannover germany “cebit” last year arround this time every year ( this year it is from 3/2/2010 thru 3/6/2010 you can check) and i met lot of legitimate suppliers, how i should now that one of them was not good, if you see what i sale, my main business is fabrics and i am just getting to this business,i did not have any problem with any of my customers, i work so hard keeping a good service, if you look at my feedback, you can see people who mention good service, friendly email, i prefer to loose the sale but not loosing a customer.this days all is made in china, you can’t now that something is good or not good.

if you think this is not a valid explanation i think you should leave your negative feedback, i tought you should of give me at least a chance to explain myself.

anyway it is your call

god bless

thanks anyway

(End of email exchange, the meat of it anyway.)

…Hmm, maybe he just had a change of heart and is really trying to be legit now? You can never tell with these people that try to backpedal and lie like a motherfucker. Oh yeah, amidst all this, it took 2 weeks before he even sent out the drive. Beware! Stalling is a common tactic by unscrupulous sellers. It lets them bypass the time restrictions for PayPal and eBay to make it harder to get your money back.

So I’m not removing the negative feedback. At least I got his approval to leave it. Hopefully he goes legit; I believe that people have the right to make an honest buck. Maybe I’m too hopeful.

[edited 4/14/2010 after I noticed some atrocious style issues with the copy and wanted to include some other experiences with FocalPrice.com. If you’ve bought any Kingston shit online—or any flash media for that matter—this article must be useful to you. Shit, I’ve been in or around computers since 1991 and this is my first experience on this matter, hence this long-ass blog post about it.]

http://sosfakeflash.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/warning-kingston-datatraveler-100-usb-flash-drive-128gb-appearing-for-sale-on-the-internet-a-guide/trackback/

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53 Responses to “I got sold a fake USB flash drive on eBay. Here’s how I fixed my situation and how you can avoid this situation yourself.”

  1. […] I got sold a fake USB flash drive on eBay. Here's how I fixed my … […]

  2. homegym says:

    Good topics, it open my eye , thanks

  3. sushi says:

    You’re a fucking reTARD for having such a blatantly spammy handle, fake email address and thick Asian accent. But at least your comment is relevant.

  4. mike says:

    i got sold a fake , i am involving the bank paypal and possibly the police {since the seller is close} i am demanding not only a refund but full compensation for shipping here and return , i hate these fraud sellers, i am also concidering a small claims suit against this seller to stop this action and give him a record
    god bless smart buyers that will stand up for themselfs

  5. Patricia says:

    Thank you very much for the well written and narrated blog. Now you got me wanting to share my story. 😉

    I found several 32GB flash drives on eBay for around $19-$33 — a screaming deal compared to retail stores. I put a maximum bid of $25 for one of the drives being sold by eBay seller [sellingtech2u].

    While searching for more flash drives on eBay, I noticed several e-Books on sale on how to not fall for fake drive scams. That, along with the extremely low price tag on the drives, turned my radar on. I decided to search the Internet for information on fake drives.

    Oh, my, I had no idea the fake flash drive scam was at such large proportions. I immediately contacted the seller of the item I bid on. I asked [sellingtech2u] about the accuracy of the flash drive’s memory capacity. At first, she said all her drives were”true” 32GB; that she had tested some of them but not all, otherwise they wouldn’t be considered “new”, as she put it.

    I insisted that I needed a true 32GB drive and needed her guarantee. I informed her that I would be testing the drive as soon as I received it. She changed her mind about sending me any of the flash drives in her current stock, asking me to wait for the next batch, which would cost $5 to $10 more and would come with a one year warrantee.

    She didn’t realize it, but she pretty much told on herself: she knowingly sells fake drives. I cannot leave a negative eBay rating on her account because I did not buy the product from her. I hope that, by leaving my comment here, others can be forewarned about buying from [sellingtech2u].

    I found another supplier of really cool, inexpensive flash drives: GadgetTown.com. I tried reaching them on the phone for two days to no avail. I contacted the live-chat rep on the third day, who instructed me to contact their wholesaler rep, Robert, via MSM.

    Robert assured me that all of their drives are of true capacity and have been tested by them. So I went ahead and ordered $255 worth of 32GB flash drives. The receipt I received from PayPal was payable to a different company: Yall Inc [confirmed PayPal merchant since 2006].

    I received the drives 3 days ago. I just test drove one of them today. It’s a complete fake. It only holds about 13 GB to 15 GB worth of data (corrupt data, on top of it). I tested it by filling it up with large as well as small files. Most of the files simply disappeared after being in the drive for 3 to 10 minutes. Other files remained in the drive, but the contents were either erase or corrupted beyond recognition by the system.

    I’ve opened a dispute against them Yall Inc. Let’s see how it turns out.

    I’m extremely disappointed at GadgetTown.com and Yall Inc. for selling fake drives. I was planning on buying thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from them but, after this experience, they completely lost their credibility with me.

    P.S.: I must confess that it was kind of fun seeing the files just loose all their contents or simply vanishing into thin air.

  6. Hansie Axyl says:

    Hello!

    Ali-Express out of China sold me 20 x 256GB Kingston 200 Datatraveler USB’s — all fake and are they putting me thru the hoops.

    Foolish me — I need to to be taught a lesson obviously!! If it’s too good then ………

    I had a run-in with Scammy Ebay/Paypal some time ago — Fake Colorburst high end software for 24 inch plus inkjet printers. A UK guy out of Manchester, Michael James a software pirate. I still have the fake DVD.

    Anyway, my bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Aust. , Visa — all wouldn’t help. And Ebat/PayPal are the worst.

    The Australian Financial Ombudsman got my money back. took about 6 weeks — not including the two months and 50 hours I wasted with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Visa Australia and PayPal Australia.

    Lesson: Do a screen capture of every page of the Ebay Ad — be maticulous and document everything. Have all the facts. Present your case susinctly with as few words as possible all backed up with Screen Captures. My family won’t invest any money with the Commonwealth Bank ever again — our monies have been withdrawn and now are with local credit unions. Great place Austalia, I will move here permanently!! You earn 6% here at the Credit Union — in the US we are earning 0.15%!!! The land of the Brave and the Free!! Just don’t stick your head up!

  7. General Zod says:

    I too fell victim. I bid on and won a supposed true “Kingston” 128gb drive. (They go for $300 and I won it for $57???) I thought I was getting one hell of a deal until I opened the package. The housing seemed real flimsy and the tip was missing the serial code. I contacted kingston and they informed me its a fake. First thing I did was notify the seller (18yr old high school kid trying to make a buck) I informed him I am getting everyone from ebay, paypal and the authorities involved. Well needless to say I got my money back. Apparently he bought them from DHGate.com. I want to see them reported as so NO ONE else gets scammed by them

  8. sushi says:

    General Zod, it surprises me that a superhuman of your great leadership skills and ruthlessness was scammed by a kid. I hope your return to power goes well.

    But seriously… DHGate.com appears to be a marketplace for sellers to hock their goods, which means that it’s another place to beware of memory deals that are too good to be true.

    I personally won’t buy flash drives anymore from overseas. They look really cool, but they’re not reliable. Stick to NewEgg or Amazon.com (“fulfilled by Amazon”, not individual sellers) and you should be ok.

  9. InformU says:

    When a customer is not satisfied with a product that person should immediately go back to the merchant and try to resolve the issue (in terms of refund or replacement) without damaging the seller’s creditability. If this is done more than likely the seller would be more than willing to give a refund and might even stop selling the product if informed of it being a fake.

    Negative responses and reporting sellers should be a last resort if the seller is not being cooperative.

  10. sushi says:

    Although you’re correct as far as satisfaction goes, you are completely incorrect in the case of counterfeit goods. Most people are unaware that an item they bought was counterfeit. They think they’re just defective — and their feedback reflects that. So the seller gets positive feedback for selling a counterfeit item, then issuing a refund due to the product being “defective”. WTF is that all about!? Why should sellers be rewarded for selling counterfeit goods?

    There’s a HUGE difference between defective and counterfeit. The ONLY way to combat counterfeits is to immediately give negative feedback. The seller’s credibility deserves to be damaged. That’s the point of negative feedback.

    The buyer gets a refund either way, but with the negative feedback and chargeback, there’s no way for the seller to squirm out of selling counterfeit goods. With the negative feedback, others are warned. With the chargeback, the seller is penalized financially.

    Why would anyone defend an unscrupulous seller? Are you one of them? Or maybe you’ve mistakenly sold a counterfeit product that resulted in negative feedback. That sucks, but now you know that you can’t get away with selling counterfeit goods. Ignorance is no excuse.

  11. Josh says:

    Will never buy any flash drive over 4GB online again! Bought a 32GB Toshiba and it only holds 16GB. Tried to store tons of movies and anything over 16GB disappeared. These fake flash drives from China need to be DESTROYED.

  12. Curious Mew says:

    I have came close to buying flash drives on eBay, but was never completely satisfied with the sellers I saw. Another good indicator of a potentially bad seller, is their low feedback scores.

    I read a old 2007 article from Oblife.com that suggested 90% of flash drives sold on eBay alone are fakes, which is a shocking statistic. Sure the article is a bit dated, but the scheme still seems to ring true even today.

    Today I’m buying one a 64GB drive from a brick-and-mortar Bestbuy, only because I know I will get my full 64GB.

  13. Nicholas says:

    cool article / the fakes are made by changeing the firmware of the flash controler

  14. Tyler says:

    my dad who owns a photography business bought a bunch of flash drives from china ( around 200 from multiple suppliers) which he resells to customers with their photos on them. hes had some success, we have a box of 200 fully functional 1gb flash drives, and we had good luck with a different supplier 2 years ago. today, we had a box come in that was supposed to contain 200 2 gb snowmen flash drives. we got racecars. and, i ran your program, and they only hold 128 mb’s. he dropped 500$ on those. but then again, the ones that work he paid 3$ each for and will resell for 35$

    a few weeks prior i purchased a 16 gb flash drive from ebay for 10$. worked fine and held 16 gb for a few weeks. now after a few minutes of use it just stops working. it may be expensive, but youll have your best luck buying from bestbuy or staples.

  15. sushi says:

    Hey Tyler. Thanks for your comment. You’ve hit on the two main problems with fake drives and memory cards — incorrect capacity and unreliable memory. Several years ago I bought an 8GB fish-shaped one from FocalPrice (I will never buy any kind of memory product from them or DealExtreme ever again). It went bad. Not surprising because they intentionally use bad memory chips.

    For the wrong-capacity types, if you don’t write data past a certain capacity, you shouldn’t suffer any data loss. But I wouldn’t even trust that. Hopefully your dad is warning his clients that they’re disposable memory cards and that they shouldn’t use them AT ALL. Otherwise, they could think that they’re buying memory and not the memories (i.e. photos — ha ha, see what I did there?).

    And I really hate that your dad’s supporting that industry. But I’m a hypocrite because I shop at Wal-mart.

    BTW, it’s not my program, just one I stumbled across while researching this topic.

  16. mims says:

    Excellent topic, was just researching about those fake USB’s. I got stuck with 25 fake USB’s which I bought online from chinese wholesaler website. As soon as I received them I checked the volume – right click properties etc. all good.
    Put them for sale on ebay right away and continued to use one of the sticks.
    As I was loading more files I went back to check if files are ok – guess what – they were not there. Folders were sitting empty.
    Two of my auctions just ended and there were people winning them. I righ away send notice not to pay, because I just found out they were not what they say they are.
    I could not believe it – since it’s the first time I get something like that. I totaly gave up on buying- selling memory sticks and also SD cards etc. I got some for quite a high price which turned out to be fake too.
    Not sure what to do with the rest. Someone can lose information, if they get into wrong hands. I am thinking of way to fixing them, but not sure if that will work. They should at least warn you to stop loading data before deleting it on the other end.
    Any suggestions? Or simply burn them on my next camping trip?
    I am very disappointed, almost ruined my 100% positive feedback. Lucky I spotted all on time. Sorry to hear that some USB’s actually got sold.
    Mims

  17. sushi says:

    Well shit, Mims, that’s quite a bummer. If you bought them with a credit card, see if you can do a chargeback. You have most of the evidence still, and they may make an exception if it’s beyond the normal time period.

    To fix them, you may be able to get a utility to correct the size (Google it), but who knows if the memory chips are of acceptable quality. That’s the second big problem with these fakes, is that they may be made out of chips that’ll fail after only a little usage. Like my fish-shaped drive that was the full 8GB as advertised, but started corrupting data left and right only after a few rounds.

    Unfortunately, until everyone just stops buying these drives, there’s a market for them, and in a world where morality doesn’t fucking matter, that just means that the manufacturers are only trying to fulfill a demand.

  18. mims says:

    Thanks Sushi,
    I will just burn them, but make sure spread the word – I’ve tested last night with above mentioned software H2testw v1.4 and they showed 6.2GB, however the first USB I’ve used the other day already doesn’t work. So I think you are right, nothing can fix them, I’ve also learned the hard way and better to destroy them.
    It was ment to be “Toshiba 64GB”, even had a ser. number on their back.
    Don’t know how they do it, and why.
    Thanks for your reply anyway.

  19. ghostmechanic says:

    Thank you for the blog here. I have been into computers a long time as well but I know I’m FAR from knowing it all. Although I like to think I’m above average lol. I also have been buying & selling online for well over 10 years…

    I bought a Kingston Hyper X 128 GB USB 3.0 flash drive on fleabay for $70 in an auction I won. I too thought I was getting a smoking deal. I chalked it up to it being an auction & the odd time of day it ended. I hadn’t opened it for quite a while because I really had no use for it & the computer I was building with USB 3.0 took some time to get finished (Done & LOVE it). Anyway I plugged it in & dragged a few movies over to it to take to a friend’s house. Got there & the folders were empty. I was pissed! So I brought it home & formatted it. Tried it again. Same issue. Also this time I watched it transfer data & I realized it was only writing at 4 MBPS. I was like WTF? I did some googling & found some stuff on Amazon about fake Kingston Hyper X flash drives floating around. By reading that I realized how to spot a fake & mine was one of them.

    It has been a few months & of course not realizing I could’ve had a problem with it I had already left good feedback for this piece of shit seller. So I sent over a nicely worded email to the seller just to let them know in case they just got duped buy a distributor because I have always believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt. The reply I got was “yeah I found out a long time ago I was being supplied fakes”. I looked up the seller’s listings & of course this douche is still selling them.

    I did some more googling & I found this wonderful blog… That flash drive is being tested as I type. I’m still reporting this piece of shit seller to fleabay. I may not get refunded but maybe the seller will get shut down.

  20. sushi says:

    Hey, ghostmechanic, thanks for the comment. If you paid with a credit card, you still may be able to get your money back on account of fraud. See what the credit card company says.

    Also, you may be able to report the auction as fraudulent. Check out your eBay listing and see if there’s a “Report” button there. Best of luck to you.

  21. Rhenzi Keys says:

    I wish I had seen this blog before I paid $26 for the Iron Man 128 GB flash drive on eBay. I am in the process of getting my money back from eBay/PayPal. luoyanbo on eBay will get a negative review. My first sign of trouble was files that were copied to the flash drive being lost. I tried filling up the drive, but I ended up with the “blue screen of death” before it got half way. I downloaded the H2testw program to test the drive and the program confirmed my suspicions. I am also seeing these drives on Amazon. I will contact them about these drives also.

  22. Bill Hawley says:

    BEWARE OF BUYING ANYTHING ON EBAY THAT IS USB!
    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/191467-badusb-returns-hackers-publish-code-that-could-infect-millions-of-usb-devices

    I am very wary about buying anything from a 3rd party now in regards to USB because any of those could be a BadUSB device. Especially if you are buying them from overseas or if they are used. Your best bet from this point forward would be to buy only new USB devices and only from reputable sellers such as Staples or another company that sells products directly from the MFG. The Amazon Marketplace is a place to watch out for because 3rd party people and businesses sell their products through Amazon.

  23. sushi says:

    Thanks for your comment and the article link, Bill.

    According to other articles and comments, BadUSB can exploit any USB device with a Phison chip. Doing a Google search turns up flash drives by Kingston and Patriot as well, both brands that IMO make good flash drives. I also couldn’t find any definitive answer as to the true potential of the vulnerability, since there seem to be valid arguments against its practicality.

    This Wired article has a very interesting comment thread: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/code-published-for-unfixable-usb-attack/

    I advise anyone to Google the issue and inform themselves from reliable sources.

  24. ass says:

    the way you acted was just as unprofesional as the seller’s.
    maybe the guy literally didnt know he was selling fakes? maybe someone cheated to him and he was convinced he sells genuine ones? instead you simply wrote him an email sayin:
    hey dude u sold me a fake, fuck you i reported you. if by any mistake ever you sell something fake in belief that it is a true genuine item (whatever it can be) would you prefer to be reported or simply minded so that you can maybe solve your problem with suplier?
    srsly.. sending emails like that seems like YOU were the one trying to get fishy, normal people talk. you just seemed like a troll that wants to havoc

  25. eric says:

    hello

    i get also the problem with fake usb flash ,
    i don t ask for paid back because it is to easy for the seller , he paid back and continue to steal other costumer. because many people send a feedback after put only 3 or 4 GB and think all is ok .
    for me the best is to complain to the internet police.
    I M FRENCH i send a message to LES SERVICES DE LA REPRESSION DES FRAUDES.
    i m dissapointed because ebay help the seller and don t try to stop them . When i complain i get a message saying if you are not happy take contact with the seller and ask for paid back .
    they don t take decision to stop the seller to sell fake product.
    I THINK ATTITUDE OF EBAY IS NOT CORRECT .

    best for all

    Eric

  26. sushi says:

    @ass LOL, seriously? Did you even read the meat of the post?

    I’m not a malicious person, in fact I always give people the benefit of the doubt and have been taken advantage of several times as a result. And blatant fraud REALLY pisses me off. Though I do appreciate a good con, like I appreciate a computer virus. It’s a very fascinating dynamic.

    To answer your question, I’m not going to answer your question because you present an extremely unlikely hypothetical situation. I don’t believe anything is genuine unless it passes all the tests. And I research things that I sell because things that I sell are representative of my own reputation.

    If the seller is selling a counterfeit product, then they deserve what they get. It’s the seller’s responsibility to know what they’re selling and to not misrepresent the product, whether intentional or not. At BEST, if the seller wasn’t fraudulent, he was was negligent. Or an idiot.

    Regarding “normal people talk”… LOL, I’m definitely beyond normal. The ONE thing that the fraudsters count on is that you start communicating with them to find a resolution. And their resolution is: “I’m sorry you received a defective product; here’s a refund.” On most of the comments for the seller, the buyers had no idea they were buying fakes and gave POSITIVE feedback for a prompt refund. I don’t have time to let the seller know that they sold a counterfeit product, then observe his activities to see if he keeps selling them, then make a judgement.

    (BTW, the seller’s account was closed after his last reply, and the item that I returned to their PO box was returned back to me as undeliverable.)

    So in this context, it appears that your comment actually makes YOU “seem like a troll”. Do you do business where you are at risk of inadvertently selling a counterfeit product and don’t want to take the responsibility and do your due diligence to prevent that from happening?

  27. Chris says:

    Thanks for the article Suchi
    You’re the warrior for the USB consumer !

    There is a spate of cheap 128/256GB USB drives going around on eBay atm.

    If you get a faulty product and the seller won’t refund or has been closed down,
    open a dispute with PayPal. They can get you a refund even after the seller has disappeared or kicked off eBay.
    Got caught with some cheap smartphones/tablets and drones earlier this year and ended up getting refunded OK.

  28. Dennis says:

    yall-uk is selling loads of fake computer stuff on Ebay, stay well clear of him

  29. sushi says:

    Thanks Dennis. FYI, here’s a listing of his Flash Drives for sale. Based on all the negative comments, yall-uk is ok with selling horrible products. 4041 positive feedback out of 4190 is still 96.4% (which includes 107 negative feedback). I don’t like badmouthing individual sellers without merit, but I really dislike people/companies who sell shitty products knowingly.

  30. Vrizla says:

    i’m glad you are calling out such a slime ball, I have spent hours reporting fraudulent activities from ebay’s cash cow “TRS” and they are still slinging fake junk extremely deceptively no less. I do disagree a bit and I would like to add on a couple red flags. First let me start by saying:

    Bootleg items are a big problem on ebay, however I’m not sure what you actually accomplished. The first sign that would have sent me running from that seller if I were buying anything tech related, is the fact that this guy sells everything under the sun. He is not going to know sheeet about any tech details ranging from RW speed on your flash drive to the thread count on the bootleg panties he’s selling. Just that last fact alone that he is claiming all these items are brand name from Victoria Secret to Kingston. I can guarantee he’s still selling under a different name and ebay knows this and that don’t give a F; as long as they get their cut. Last but not least, I’m not disagreeing with you that this guy is a slimy scam artist low life and I’m glad you got your money back. Your advice on using a credit card is the only thing I agree with. Negative feedback accomplishes pretty much nothing and I’m not saying don’t leave it. Even though their policies have changed dirtbags like him can still use it against you, so my advice is to first try and get your money back or what ever you are interested in doing, if you get no where then slap him with the cold truth in your feedback. Most important more than anything, and this is for everyone who buys on ebay, when you are satisfied with a purchase “LEAVE FEEDBACK” all you are doing is giving these d-bags more power and leverage with ebay by not taking a few seconds to leave a generic A+ or thumbs up. This is one of the many reasons why legit sellers don’t want to have anything to do with ebay. On a side note there are certain items that are in a gray area since they aren’t listed as “name brand x” that are damn good especially for the price, I would recommend to people from certain suppliers. However if they are trying to deceive customers or taking away money from a brand that uses proceeds to support charity or provides free resources, such as software, online tutorials, apps etc. then no I’m firmly against that.

  31. marcos says:

    Bought a (supposedly) 128GB pendrive from an UK seller. If I had read all the negative responses to that seller I would have known before. The drive came with one week delay and had a virus in the RecycleBin directory (have you heard a new pendrive having ANY directory on it?). So I tried to repartition and format it immediatelly to wipe all possible threats, and I did after some struggling and then tried to copy my data on it. Looked OK until suddenly the drive gave a write-protected error and became irrecognizable for Windows. Again, after SOME struggling and using different formatting and partitioning tools, the Windows said it is there but needs to be formatted. I did format it again. I tried to copy the data again. After about 15GB the same symptoms and worse: now the drive was write protected so no repartitioning no formatting no drive letter no nothing, became an object for decorating purposes, a fashionable key chain thats what it is. I feel deceived, lost few hours of my time, not to mention I needed it for my work. These people rely on the fact that many people wont notice the fact that only a fraction of the announced capacity is actually usable until it is too late to complain. Or maybe many just dont care about losing 10 euros on a fake product. I dont understand how these sellers still get their opportunity from eBay. Really dissapointing experience.
    Waiting for the seller to respond.

  32. acrewofone says:

    Check this one out:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/256GB-USB-FLASH-DRIVE-SWIVEL-THUMB-DRIVE-MEMORY-2-0-NEW-256GB-/331535364378?hash=item4d310c311a

    Under Description:

    -16gb upgraded to 256GB USB 2.0 flash drive

    -To copy a 4GB file to the card, Simply right click your mouse, Choose the FORMAT, A window will pop up, Change the FAT32 to NTFS.

    -Using the H2testw can destroy the flash drive memory causing the software test to show that the flash drive is counterfeit or fake

    How do you “upgrade” from 16 GB to 256GB?”

    …and using the test program destroys the flash drive memory?

    I actually bought one, and when I went to use it, properties showed 0 bytes size and would not pass formatting on 2 different computers (Win 7 & Win XP). I put in a return request case, describing the trouble and saying that it must be bad, but ebay found in favor of the seller and closed the case, saying that I ruined it, because I tried to format it!

  33. kkk says:

    Fcuk you, why are you discriminating Asia

    “A fake Gucci® handbag might be fine if you’re Asian”

    Serve you right to be cheated

  34. Chouki says:

    I got one and it’s FAKE 32 GB, can anyone out there who can please advise how to fix this problem, it’s doesn’t work with iPhone. Thanks in advance
    Chouki

  35. Geoff says:

    There’s plenty of asshats on Ebay – check this douche

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/tomukseller

    I guess I should have checked his followers before purchasing. I’m still in the process of getting my refund, but as the guy is a “powerseller” I can not post negative feedback until next week – time in which who knows how many others will be tricked?

    I suggested the guy change his item title when he harped on about “some may be faulty, it’s in the item description.” It’s there, but the page is set up so you won’t see it unless you scroll down – assuming you realise that blank space isn’t the end of the description.

    I suggested he actually check each item prior to dispatch to avoid any unpleasantness – he complained that it would take “hours each day.” But really, if you already know your supplier isn’t Q.C their shit, isn’t it the responsibility of the retailer to make sure it works? ==

    I suggested the guy change his supplier if they send faulty goods, but I got no reply on that. He knows full well these are “faulty” (and by that I mean fake) and figures that for every person who has a complaint, countless others aren’t likely too for whatever reason. (For the record, I came close to not bothering myself, as the refund process is a nuisance in itself.)

    But yeah, the message to take home is, buy from a reputable retail outlet – somewhere you can walk back in and kick off with them – not a supposedly reputable Ebayer who’s gonna blithely shrug their shoulders in a “heh, you got me” manner, and just sell it on to some other schmuck.

  36. sushi says:

    @KKK Thanks for reading. Just trying to understand what you’re saying… It serves me right to be cheated by someone selling intentionally defective Chinese products because I implied that Asians like fake products? Maybe you’re not aware… Asians really do like knockoff products — they make and use tons of them.

    The definition of “discriminate” includes lack of merit. There’s a lot of merit behind my statement. An actual discriminatory statement would be, “If you’re Asian, you love knock-off products because your squinty eyes can’t tell the difference.” But I would never say that. (…non-jokingly.)

    BTW, is there a KKK branch in Japan I haven’t heard about? What do you guys discriminate against?

  37. sushi says:

    @Geoff, thanks for posting your experience. I checked out his feedback, and most of them are older than 6 months. Damn, he’s been at it awhile! And a lot of good feedback for the same 64GB flash drives. Has the guy been reported yet?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Can the partition table be modified in order to correct the problem?

  39. Librum says:

    5-10 % of a drive’s capacity is reserved as ‘overhead’, leaving 90-95% available.

    But a new thumb can be fat, exfat, and ntfs. What is/are the overheads per operating system? I have not been able to find that information.

    I have found one supplier of 8gb who is consistently 6.7% with fat. Good/bad/average? Surprisingly, pacific rim.

    Another tip: A certain bulk ‘custom usb’ firm in Florida is not on eBay. Oh, sure, they do custom logoed, but their drives are junk. As not on eBay, they operate with a bit more impunity. So do not think off-eBay is better. If such a site has no pics or prices online, and request you ask for a quote, it is a dead give-way. Plus the one I am thinking of sells email addresses.

  40. johnbkobb says:

    I bought 5 of these Micro SDHC Class 10 32GB Memory Cards from China sellers. I tested them all before trying to use them. They were purchased from 5 different sellers in China. ALL 5 TESTED at less than 8GB. So far I have been refunded from 4 sellers and I’m waiting for the 5th seller to refund. 4 of the 5 adapters that came with these micro cards were good but the 5th was bad. They were all sold as Class 10 but none of them performed at the speed a Class 10 should perform at. All were much slower. I did purchase an 8GB Micro Card without an adapter. After I ran the test on that one it checked GOOD.
    I used SDFormatter by TRENDY Co. to first format the card and then I tested the cards with the program H2testw which writes to the card, and if it goes through the writing process without a failure then it will automatically initiate a verifying process to see how many files were actually written to the card. A report will be generated after testing is completed.

    I used Google to find these 2 programs

    It is a good idea to not leave feedback for seller until you thoroughly test the products you purchase. I never did, but now I always wait until I have confirmed that what I buy is actually good. Those 5 sellers got 5 star good feedback but if I could change it to 1 star I would. But it is too late now I cannot change my feedback for them.

  41. pat says:

    “A fake Gucci® handbag might be fine if you’re Asian”
    whats this all about????

  42. scroogled says:

    well, I too have fallen foul to fake usb products…. wish I had encountered your post here beforehand… It wasn’t an E-bay scam, this one came via the Geek app (powered by Wish.com)
    Now, my first clue should have been the 1TB and 2TB flash drives being offered at ridiculously low prices, and normally I would have started my searches to verify that such products exist, what they look like, and what they usually cost; but all common sense and rationality escaped long enough for me to purchase a number of drives… (2x1tb, 2x2tb and 2x 128gb microsd cards to be exacting)
    the microsd cards seem to fail around 22-24gb (cannot copy errors) but the flash drives have been interesting…. I had transferred roughly 3/4tb to the drive, and everything looked ok – file names/folders intact… then I did a little housekeeping and moved some files into a folder… and everything disappeared. Two main folders, both empty, with the computer reporting the same amount of data in use. Explorer’s properties state that the folders are empty, 0 files, 0 bytes; drive letter properties indicate 755GB used. Fun fact – I ran a brief scan with some data recovery software… of what it read, every file was listed under the root directory, and more oddly, of every file discovered, it appeared that each was completely recoverable. Haven’t tested that part as yet, but still rather odd nonetheless. I’m going to put each drive through its paces with H2testw to see just how much, if anything at all, can be safely stored…
    and just to play devil’s advocate – not all knock-offs are bad… yes, a drive that pretends to have a higher capacity than it actually does is definitely bad, but generic brand style knock-offs that produce the same results at a fraction of the cost (thinking soundblaster vs everyone) result in a more competitive market… here’s hoping that it won’t be too long before large capacity flash drives at very reasonable prices are legitimately here…

  43. Wilbur says:

    Hi Sushi,

    I was just busy with this and found your article insightful. These things maddens me slightly…

    BUT now I’m really concerned about the Crucial 240GB SSD I bought, never tested and is there some way to actually test it without ruining it slightly. Didn’t bother previously about it, because the source is supposedly very legit, but are their sources legit O_o

    Cheers

  44. sushi says:

    I googled and found this 2013 article about fake SSDs: http://www.thessdreview.com/daily-news/latest-buzz/manufacturer-shipped-review-sample-ssd-contains-fake-nand-flash-memory/

    I haven’t really kept up since I wrote this post way back when, but it looks like some manufacturers have unknowingly put out counterfeit SSDs from the factory level, which means they’re inspected and sealed.

    The article has some info on testing, and the most obvious red flag seems to be tested speeds that are significantly slower than the drive’s rated speed.

    Good luck with your testing, Wilbur…

  45. lecgo says:

    ADVISE AVOID AT ALL COSTS , FRAUDULENT SELLER – telecomusers
    ebay said:This member is an eBay Top-rated seller
    NO,he’s not!!!

  46. Marc S. says:

    Hi Sushi,

    Well I work in tech (Help Desk) and should have known better (I warn people all day about virus and such and say,”if it sounds to good…,”, but a good friend of mine who is a professor gave me one of these drives as a gift and told me he got it on Ebay.

    Instead of fully testing it and looking up things, I order a few for my friends. Then I started using the one that was given to me as a backup. His was clean when I put it in the computer, but the ones I ordered came with viruses, which were immediately detected. They were from like 2011 and were the type that helped other take over your computer. I removed them and that was what made me suspect. I started to look more closely at these.

    I found some articles about the fakes and thought,”let me test these.” I copied over about 32 Gig of stuff, and I did it on both versions (the one I was given and the ones I bought). Both times they copied 16.2 (or 16.3) max files ONLY. If I looked at certain folders they were empty and I know they were copied because I watched the details as they said they copied. I have already left good feed back because my greatest concern was receiving them. So I had to backtrack and leave a comment on my feedback to warn people. I also am disputing this with Ebay and the seller.

  47. Andy S says:

    Hi, Just FYI.
    ” I tested out the 8-gigger with H2testw, and it said that half a gig was defective! So it seems that FocalPrice is also selling defective flash drives. ”

    I don’t know if Patriot publishes the _actual_ capacity (couldn’t find it in 10 seconds), but often the announced capacity differs from real capacity.
    Like Toshiba 32gb usb drives actual capacity is 28.8gb and so on (they publish this information in their website, you can check it, as many other manufacturers do).

    So, your 8gb drive might be real and working properly, it’s just nominally 8gb while the actual size is a tad smaller.

    Peace
    Andy

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