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Beware of fake Lowepro bags!

Below are two letters from long-time Lowepro customers who were shocked to find that the Lowepro bags they bought on eBay were counterfeit, and not covered by the Lowepro warranty.

They show very good reason to buy only from authorised Lowepro retailers in Australia.

To whom it concerns

This is my account of the one time I bought cheap new branded goods on ebay.

I was not very experienced at it but I am not easily conned either. Normally I am very wary and check all available data but this night it was late and I was 'in a hurry' – bad move. I had spent hours scouring the listings and watching the bidding and checking the feedback and I thought I had found what I wanted when I came across a Lowepro Slingshot 200 with bidding starting at $80AU and no bids on it yet and only three hours to end time.

I did wonder at the absence of bids so far but I put it down to the fact a few other 'Lowepro' bags were just bought or about to be. I also wondered about the look of the bag in the picture in the listing, it didn't have that clean lines - proud look I would expect from a first class item and I did email the seller if it was genuine Lowepro and I got a reply that didn't answer the question. This has happened with the few low price used items I have bought, people answer a question that wasn't asked. So I let it pass and put my bid in, as much as I was willing to pay.

The seller also had a 100% positive feedback score.

It was too good to be true and I knew it. But I ignored the alarm bells. Bad move!

Looking back I also suspect the other bidder was only there to up the price, apparently not an uncommon practice.

What I 'won' on ebay was a Chinese/Hong Kong knockoff, a fake. It turned up soon enough wrapped in a couple of plastic bags bound roughly with packing tape. That's when all but the faintest doubt disappeared. I opened it and everything about it said 'rubbish'. The material was low grade, the fittings cheap, the cut and finish sloppy.

This just couldn't be genuine Lowepro I thought. You don't get a reputation like Lowepro with a product like this.

What to do? I couldn't use it to carry my precious (to me) equipment; it just wouldn't perform as I needed in the field. And I still had that lingering doubt, or was it hope, is it the real thing? So I got on the net and found Lowepro's site which led me to Maxwell's, the Lowepro distributors in Australia.

I had to be sure before I took any action on the matter so I sent an email on the Friday night and got a reply on the same night from Paul in customer support who eventually put me on to Dawn. Paul offered to have a look at the bag so I sent it off a few days later and it was confirmed. The cheap bag was a genuine fake all the way from China. I got burned, for a lot of time and money.

The upside of this experience is I won't be wasting my time and money chasing that elusive 'bargain' in the cyber markets any more. Peace of mind is worth a few dollars. If I want top end stuff I'll go to the 'genuine article' and I have found in Maxwell's a company that offers service first.

Service, remember that?

That's old fashioned professionalism. The people at Maxwell's have put significant consideration into helping me resolve the matter and I have every reason to expect a healthy, hassle free relationship when I am in the market and they have the equivalent of what I need.

And I thank you for your help.

Sincerely,
Mark

I have owned only Lowepro bags for around 14 years as I don't trust any other to carry my photographic gear. I had been looking at the new Primus AW backpack to replace my Rover AW backpack and shopped around for prices and information. While surfing eBay, I came across the Primus bag, brand new and a lot cheaper than what was available locally. I was initially a little suspicious, but after looking at the seller's rating (99.8% positive and with well over 1,000 sales) I felt pretty safe, put in a bid and won the bag.

After a little over a month and some light work, I noticed a tear alongside a zipper. I was very surprised - I've never had a problem with a Lowepro bag before. I initially contacted the seller concerning the damage. He replied that he would look into it, but I would need to pay all postage, and that he would be charging over AUS$50.00 to ship the bag from his end and asked me if it was worth the hassle. I then contacted Maxwell International concerning the warranty, who were happy to help. At their request I sent the bag in... to find out it was a fake.

It definitely pays to buy Lowepro gear from reputable local Lowepro stockists. Apart from the issues with the warranty (which I have yet to use on a 'real' Lowepro bag), you know you are buying the genuine product.

Nathan Van Der Meulen

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