Can you spot the Ergo360 fake

A good friend of mine called me yesterday for some assistance. After having tried and falling in love with my Ergo360, she purchased her own from Ebay. Price? $120.

Not bad, since mine was 860 shekels (translating to $216; yes, it’s expensive here!) last year when it was first released. Ergo’s website lists it in the US at about $160. So she thought she was getting a pretty good deal, since it was about the same with a slight difference but had some suspicions. She picked it up this morning and we met up to compare.

BLOG ERGO 360 real vs fake
The original photo we took was with flash and didn’t come out great. With the loss of detail, I’d say it’s pretty darn hard to tell the difference. Fake (right) vs real (left).
BLOG ERGO side-by-side
Can you spot the fake Ergobaby 360? Here’s the inside of the fake (left) vs real (right) Ergobaby 360. The main difference from afar is the color.

Her Ergo 360 came in the same nice box as mine, with a little wear and tear (even though the woman selling it said she never opened the boxes), and inside a plastic bag. There was a note about a product guaranty, but no user guide.

ERGO 01 Box sm
The box, worn slightly but looks like an original from Ergobaby.

I’ve seen posts on some really well made Original Ergo counterfeits, but this one wasn’t up to par. It was obvious on pulling it out that the fabric was cheaper and the stitching was not as nice. The size was slightly smaller (either to cut costs in the factory or because of inconsistency in the pattern used versus the original Ergo 360), and the color didn’t match. In addition, the box claimed it was a Grey/Taupe Ergo, while the tag said Dusty Blue (nothing about the fake looks like the Dusty Blue style).

BLOG ERGO both
Ergobaby real and fake placed one on top of the other. Original Ergobaby 360 on bottom, fake on top. The fake is notably smaller and a bit “wonky”.
BLOG ERGO Color
Box the counterfeit came in listing Grey/Taupe and the label listing Dusty Blue.

So as a guide to unknowing buyers, and those who haven’t seen a real Ergo360, we made a side-by-side photo comparison. All the photos have the fake either at the top of the photo or to the right of the real Ergobaby 360.

BLOG ERGO logos
Ergobaby Logo 101. Can you spot the fakes? The baby stains probably give it away, but the subtle differences are there.

She returned the Ergo 360 for a refund, and the women selling it claimed she had no idea; the factory just shipped it to her “like that” and she’d return it to complain. I’m not sure what factory makes real and fake Ergos at the same time and how they could have mysteriously gotten mixed up (or how someone couldn’t know it was a fake), but she seemed very nice about the return and then got more and more stressed and defensive (especially when the possibility of Ebay shutting down her store entered the conversation).

In an effort to look “real”, Ergobaby counterfeiters put in safety warnings and labels. Some are decorative (like above) but some are for authenticity. They might miss some of the details, like incorrect spelling or bad placement. These were pretty well done, however there are a few discrepancies. A real Ergobaby 360 will have a tag with number (including a year and month) on the waist belt. The fake didn’t have this tag.

BLOG ERGO real number
Label on waist belt of the original Ergobaby 360.
BLOG ERGO warning labels fake vs real
Waist bands of the fake (top) and original (bottom). The counterfeit put their label in a pretty bad place, interfering with the belt’s velcro and therefore ability to close properly.

Please beware, when knowingly buying a counterfeit (like a “Fergo” instead of an Ergo), the amount you spend is going to reflect the genuineness. Cheating someone by claiming the product is the original is obviously wrong and you should be very cautious if the price seems “too good to be true”. So here’s the thing, even if you do get a great deal, you’re compromising safety.

BLOG ERGO warning labels fake vs real number
Close-up of the fake vs original Ergobaby 360 warning labels. Note everything matches except the color and style name and code. Also, the safety certification code is missing from the counterfeit.

It may not be a big deal, but check out the photos and you’ll see what I mean. My Ergo360 has been lovingly “lived in” for over a year and the resulting wear and tear has been pretty minimal due to careful stitching and sturdy fabrics. With fakes, there’s no safety promises, and that can result in minor to serious injuries, especially to small children. While I was taking the photos I even noticed an area that had some serious stitching going on, and you can see some of it already starting to give. It’s a spot which carries most of the baby’s weight, and if that goes so does baby.

BLOG Ergo seam strength
While the Ergo is a tough carrying machine, things get worn. Thread is not solid steel and will pull and stretch. You can see here how the bottom (real) has a few “layers” of close stitching to strengthen an area that will obviously be a focus of usage stress. The top (fake) has one line of stitching and, well… when it goes it’s gone, and so might be your kid.

Another safety issue you might not consider are buckles. My friend was really concerned about the shape of the buckles. Had she not had mine to compare to, she wouldn’t have noticed it. The shape is different, but also the material quality is pretty obvious. Buckles are plastic and after lots of usage can risk breakage, that’s why they’re under warranty. If your plastic buckles are cheap and shoddy, they will snap (which could result in baby falling).

BLOG ERGO buckles
Which one is stronger? There’s no mistaking the difference here. Not only does the fake’s plastic look cheap, it’s missing a pretty important looking part.
BLOG ERGO buckle female
The female ends of the buckle. Those ridges inside are meant to hold the buckle in place and prevent it from slipping. The fake (top) is noticeably smaller and thinner.

Not only do counterfeiters not comply to safety standards, many of them cut costs by employing cheap labor. Yep, think child-labor, sweatshops, and all those unpleasant things we like to think don’t happen anymore or only in really backwards uncivilized and non-policed places.

It was rainy so the photos were taken inside, but the lighting shows most of the small details and the color differences. Things you can’t really see are the texture and weight. The fake was lighter and just felt flimsy. Something that’s easy enough to check. The real Ergobaby 360 isn’t heavy, but it’s not super light because of all the padding. Here’s a few photos that sort of show the thickness.

Ergobaby puts in some nice details that aren’t always replicate-able on a tight budget (think counterfeit factory mentality).  Zippers, buttons, and other little things that make it look “cheap” and will most likely end up becoming problematic in the future when they tear, open up, or break.

BLOG ERGO details zipper head
Shoddy stitching that will lead to fraying, almost identical but not quite zippers…
BLOG ERGO front sun cover pocket
Fake versus real Ergobaby 360 sun cover and pocket. Notice the fake’s attempt to copy the sun cover design by stitching two pieces of fabric together (top right).
BLOG ERGO head support buttons
Buttons on the headrest. Top photo shows the entire area (fake at very top; darker colored fabric strings). Bottom photos show closeups of buttons and cloth attaching them. Almost similar but not quite.

More for your money? Might not be, as the counterfeit cut short some of the straps, used less thread and filling, and in general just didn’t “sit” right.

BLOG ERGO tushie buttons
Ergobaby’s color system for young versus older babies in the crotch seating region was absent from the fake.

Some of the comfort of the Ergobaby 360 original is going to be lost with all that flimsy fabric and irregular stitching. Counterfeits are not designed with your comfort and happiness in mind, so who knows how your baby will sit in the seat (which is not the same in dimension.

BLOG ERGO fake vs real crotch
Ergo’s seating (crotch) region is padded differently, attached differently, and not the same dimensions. Also, the waist belt is secured at a wider spacing, giving more support, strength, and comfort when closed.

The waistband, the most important (in my opinion) part of the sling for baby-carrying mom/dad/grandparent/caregiver, is a different size and construction. It might not hold as well if the velcro isn’t strong. Also, without good support and fitting, you can have severe back and leg pains. This is definitely not one of those areas you want to scrimp on.

BLOG ERGO velcro
Fake Ergo is shorter on the long velcro side, and longer on the other side, which means it closes and sits differently. With the real Ergobaby, you can easily close it without having to struggle and reach around your back for odd positioning. Probably a good idea to keep the velcro closed as often as possible, since it’s strong and it collects EVERYthing (yeah, that dirty thing is mine).

Here’s those buckles again, at the waist, behind the shoulders and on the shoulder straps. The stitching to secure them in place isn’t similar, and neither is the plastic material. Those are key places if not “locked in” tightly, you’re going to have a broken unusable Ergo (and no warranty to replace those pieces) or risk your child slipping while in use.

BLOG ERGO belt buckles
Belt buckles on real versus fake. Can you tell which is which?

Who’s carrying your baby?

BLOG ERGO shoulder straps
Shoulder straps (fake Ergobaby 360 on top) and sun cover snaps (fake on right). If you look close you can see the fabric quality. Mine’s been washed and worn, but it still has a much tighter weave.
BLOG ERGO back straps
Back straps. Mine’s a bit ratty for wear and tear, but it’s been a year. The fake has less stitching… imagine what it will look like in a year (if the stitches are still there).

*A few more photos will be added soon as I get some time!

So you got duped into buying a fake (or you have suspicions it’s fake), and want to know what you can do? First, if you just made the purchase and you can call your bank (or Paypal) for a charge back, or dispute the sale if that doesn’t help (Ebay, Amazon, or the like), do so now. Send as much info as possible. Chances are the person selling the counterfeit has had previous disputes and won’t want to risk getting their store shut down.

Contact Ergobaby. Their website gives clear instructions on who is an authorized retailer (if they’re not on the list, be suspicious) and how to handle the situation if you’ve already bought. They stand to lose customers and their reputation, so they’re very receptive of input and feedback on where counterfeits are coming from and who is making/selling them.

That said, the Ergobaby 360* saved my life and I can’t say enough about it. I do wish the front pocket found on the Performance was still there (*hint hint future models*) but it’s really a very reliable hands-free and fun way to wear your baby.

Good luck and happy baby-wearing!

*This post was in no way endorsed by, paid for, or sponsored by the Ergobaby company and is completely the opinion of the web-blog owner. Although we wouldn’t turn down a pat on the back for it. =)

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8 thoughts on “How to spot a fake Ergo360

  1. I have been buying and selling baby carriers for some time now and have also accidently bought a fake Ergo360 carrier. All the things you mentioned are right, except I got a real one in my possesion now, which does have the washlabel on the “wrong” side. Could it be that Ergobaby have made a bad decision in the beginning and did put the washlabel where it shouldn’t be? Or this must be the most amazing copy ever.

    Like

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