A few weeks ago we wrote about the overbranding practice wherin a defunct brand name in the local market is dug up and applied to low cost product to give it sales cred into the Australian consumer marketplace. Apparently this has now been taken to its next logical step and brands that aren't even extinct in Australia are being utilised.

I've been puzzled in recent weeks by customers asking after Hitachi TV's, we used to sell their Japanese made Plasma's and most of those clients still have them in place. The 55 inch Japanese panel with the remote operated rotating stand was a particularly fine piece of work. When I responded to these recent enquiries I just assumed that the individual asking was thinking about buying one secondhand as the Hitachi TV's were desisted in Australia in 2007. In retrospect I should have smelled the Rat as the respondants manner turned into much the same secretive smugness that I also associate with the customers who thought they were getting a good deal from buying loudspeakers that were slightly warm from the back of a white van.

It turns out courtesy of Smarthouse magazine that a company called Tempo Australia is bringing inexpensive Chinese TVs into Australia and branding them Hitachi complete with online references to Hitachi Japan design philosophy and even using the "Inspire the next" as a logo appendage. The "Hitachi" panels are apparrently being sold through Australian bulk store channels.
Needless to say Hitachi Japan know nothing about the use of their brand in association with this line of Televisions ... however Hitachi Australia have surrendered their rights to the name to Tempo since the beginning of October.

Also this week I have been offered supply of an excellent range of top brand headphones including Dr Dre and Sennheiser that are outright fakes. Clearly these are being regularly purveyed via the internet and unless you have a pair of originals to closely scrutinise you might assume as a customer that they were the real thing and a jolly bargain. The care and attention that goes into the imitative manufacture of these inferior products suggests a facility that if it could only design its own headphones would probably be a perfectly capable legitamate manufacturer. In truth though their product sounds like shite and fails utterly in qualitative feel. I would suggest fakeheadphones.com as a fun resource for wether you have purchased a counterfeit pair...

The other scam that I have become aware of this week ... the internet is a wonderful thing ... is those Chinese retailers that have set up websites complete with Australian price points and an Australian phone number (which dosn't reply) with a familiar sounding name but who are actually despatching non Aus electrical approved kit from Hong Kong with no warranty. It seems all too easy to put up a website that whilst offering low prices offers no veracity of origin. Simply Electronics.com.au for example is actually somewhere in Honk Kong and their real prices delivered are rubbish, their phone line is an automated hold system that simply leaves you ... on hold ... until you give up. Buyer beware I'm afraid.

Meanwhile back on the streets of Australia the White Van Scam mentioned previously is still going strong. It's not just on the web where you can get ripped off. This particular scam was actually started in Melbourne by a Security Guard who so rumour has it now lives in a walled mansion in Hong Kong and is prevalent now in most major cities. Their secret is to prey on peoples avarice by suggesting that the speakers are possibly purloined from a shop such as Carlton Audio Visual and can therefore be bought for a once off bargain price.

Carlton Audio Visual has it's own defense mechanism who is a virtual employee known as Damien who occasionally works hard with people wishing to purchase items on credit cards on the email inbox and have them collected via DHL. Damien is a low cost employee requiring no overtime or superannuation who has successfully wasted the time of numerous criminals and possibly helped in the apprehension of a couple. If he ever replies to you in an email it's because we think you're bad ...


Rab Turner