Customs officials stop import of $4,000 of counterfeit AirPods

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AirPods 2. AirPods S, more like.
AirPods are one of Apple's most popular products.
Photo: Apple

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized a shipment of counterfeit AirPods coming from China, carrying a retail price (at least, if they were authentic) of $3,975.

Officers discovered the shipment of AirPod knockoffs June 1. The packaging said the parcel contained lithium ion batteries. However, officers inspecting the package reportedly grew suspicious because of giveaways with the packaging and marking used on the shipment.

“Counterfeit goods, like these, damage our economy,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director, Chicago. “When criminals sell these items, it deprives legitimate businesses from thriving. Unfortunately, many citizens do not realize the harmful effects that counterfeit products have on American businesses and jobs. American businesses and industries lose billions in revenues annually due to counterfeits and the public is put at risk with unsafe counterfeits which may not meet safety standards. Our CBP officers are proudly protecting American businesses, jobs and consumers.”

The number of counterfeit items seized in the U.S. is pretty mind-boggling. On an average day, Customs and Border Protection officers seize some $4.3 million worth of products that infringe on Intellectual Property Rights. The overwhelming majority of these hail from the People’s Republic of China, consisting of mainland China and Hong Kong.

AirPods and beyond: The battle against counterfeit products

Counterfeit products has remained a problem for Apple for years, as it does for many companies. Last year, Apple rewarded police officers in South Korea who helped stop almost $1 million worth of fake accessories.

For those who import and sell counterfeit products, punishments can be severe. In 2019, a Chinese national caught smuggling fake Apple products into the United States was handed a three-year prison sentence. Nonetheless, the problem persists.

Apple hosts a dedicated webpage for anyone who thinks they might have been counterfeit products. This lets customers submit photos and other details to Apple so that it can help crack down on counterfeit products. The problem with these products isn’t just that it costs Apple money and supports criminals. Counterfeit products can be of low quality, and may even prove dangerous in some cases.

Source: CBP