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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who’s carrying your baby?
*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. =)