It’s hard to beat the convenience of online shopping. Compared with traditional in-store shopping, online shopping offers a much wider variety and choice of products/models, users’ reviews, cheaper prices and often free shipping. Unfortunately the popularity of online shopping has also increased the number of counterfeit products sold online, including motorcycle safety gear.
In recent months a worrying spike in the sales of counterfeit motorcycle helmets has been identified. Cheap, poor quality, unsafe helmets are being sold as reputable brands online with sellers often falsely claiming the helmets meet international safety standards.
All states in Australia require motorcycle riders to wear an approved helmet, securely fitted and fastened. Approved helmets must have a label showing they comply with either Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1698 or United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No 22 (UNECE22.05).
The fake helmets are usually sold at a much lower price than the genuine product, thus appealing to bargain hunters and new riders who are unaware they are fake.
The use of a fake helmet could seriously impact a rider’s life in the event of an accident. Tests conducted by the British Standards Institution (BSI) showed fake helmets splitting or breaking into pieces during a simulation of a crash at 50km/h. An Investigation by the British ITV News shows the shattered helmets in the tests conducted by BSI.
How to Spot a Fake Helmet
Although the counterfeit helmets look more and more like the genuine products, there are still obvious signs that can help a buyer identify the fakes. Unfortunately most of these signs are only visible when inspecting the helmet in person, which means if you bought a fake helmet online it may be too late.
One of the most obvious giveaways is the build quality and it’s easy to spot. Others include:
- No original box
- No instruction manual or warranty card
- Colours and graphics mismatch, poor quality paintwork
- Poorly applied labels
- Spelling mistakes on labels
- No label to show AS/ANZ standard or ECE standard
- No quick-release system in models which suppose to have one
- No removable cheek pads
- Model is not on the manufacturer’s website
- Colour scheme is not on the manufacturer’s website
How to Avoid Buying a Fake Helmet
Using the right motorcycle helmets is one of the most important things a rider must do.
When you buy a helmet always buy from a reputable seller. Buying in-store from a large retailer guarantees the helmet you buy is genuine. Apart from checking for all the above signs you can try the helmet to ensure the size is right for you, the helmet is comfortable, fits the shape of your head and provides a good field of vision.
If you do buy online make sure the seller is a reputable seller. Check reviews and comments made by other buyers. Ensure clear pictures show all sides of the helmet as well as the labels showing it meets the above standards. Confirm with the seller that the helmet is shipped in original box and have booklets and the manufacturer’s warranty card.
Always check the return policy and ensure you can return the product if its not genuine.
When buying from a private seller, either in an online marketplace, Gumtree, eBay or Facebook make sure you get clear pictures of the helmet, including the visor, quick release system and certification label. Try to verify the identity of the seller to ensure he/she is not going to vanish the moment cash exchanges hands.
Never forget the golden rules: If the price is too good to be true – it probably is, and usually in life you get what you pay for!
Be safe. Enjoy the ride.