Xmas shoppers warned to watch out for fake Nintendo consoles

5 Dec 2008

Consumers are in danger of buying consoles that could blow up in their face. UK customs have seized counterfeit games consoles with dangerous power adapters, and the fear is they could be circulating in Ireland as well.

Hundreds of imported counterfeit games consoles seized at UK freight depots were found to have been supplied with potentially dangerous power adapters.

The goods had been purchased from a range of websites, mainly in Asia, which claimed the items were genuine Nintendo products.

Many of the consoles, which are fake versions of the popular Nintendo DS and DS Lite, had been bought for around £40 sterling, instead of the usual retail price of £100 sterling.

Nintendo confirmed that the Nintendo DS and DS lite consoles were counterfeit, and the power adaptors being supplied with the product were not Nintendo-manufactured and were, in fact, potentially dangerous, as they had not been electronically tested.

“Consumers must be vigilant when purchasing goods online,” said HM Revenue & Custom’s head of intellectual property rights, Pamela Rogers.

“Buy from a reputable or regulated site and, if purchasing from outside the UK or from a new website, research the site – check all the facts before you buy.

“At best, these consoles would have led to disappointment on Christmas morning; at worst, they could have caused serious harm or injury.

“Counterfeit goods also cause considerable damage to the UK economy by undermining genuine UK retailers and small businesses that are honest and abide by the rules.”

Mike Rawlinson, managing director for Nintendo’s fraud investigation company ELSPA, said the issue of child safety and an ongoing commitment to ensure the best protection for children is always at the forefront of the games industry’s mind.

“As a responsible industry, we are also extremely committed to ending the damaging counterfeit games market, which not only defrauds tax payers with inferior products, but in some cases actually puts children’s lives at risk too. We are asking all concerned parents to be diligent – often when a bargain seems too good to be true, it is.

“This is an issue that affects all retail businesses, particularly at Christmas, and more needs to be done to work together to mitigate the risks posed by fake goods. We are also continuing to work very closely with Trading Standards on this important safety issue,” Rawlinson said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Nintendo DS lite console

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years