The expansion of Chinese consumer websites into the North American market in recent years has led, in our industry, to a massive increase in the incidence of counterfeit fraud. As a result, Racquet Network has policies in place to protect our customers from having to share the financial burdens associated with this petty crime.
Counterfeit fraud is most common in badminton and pickleball with Yonex ™ and Manta. However, we have seen incidents in other racquet sports as well.
Here is how it works. A customer purchases a counterfeit frame from a counterfeit website (or app) such as ALIEXPRESS for $50.00. They then bring the racquet in for us to string. Of course, the frame is a garbage counterfeit, so it snaps while we are stringing it. When we contact the customer to tell them this, they act surprised and demand that we replace their $50 counterfeit with the real thing (say $275.00).
If the scam works, they end up paying $50.00 for a $275.00 Yonex badminton frame. If it happens more than once or twice, we have to raise our prices. So honest customers end up paying more for everything — which isn’t fair at all.
Fortunately, there are ways to tell counterfeits from the real thing. All racquet technicians at Racquet Network are trained in counterfeit detection. And we also have policies in place to deal with counterfeit fraud.
While we are willing to string counterfeit racquets, our Terms of Service place the risk for doing so squarely on the shoulders of the customer. Counterfeit racquets are not covered by a warranty of any kind. Should a customer bring a counterfeit racquet in for service and should that racquet break while we are stringing it, we will not replace the racquet, we will not refund the cost of the string or any installed parts and we will not refund the labour.
So scammers beware. And customers beware too. As our daddy used to tell us, if someone offers you a diamond ring for ten cents, chances are you just bought a diamond ring that isn’t worth a dime. So don’t be tempted by the deals you see on discount websites. If you want a genuine Yonex badminton racquet or a genuine Manta pickleball paddle, make sure you buy it from an authorized dealer. You will pay more, but you will get the real thing.