How to Avoid Purchasing a Counterfeit Baby Carrier…a big “thank you” to our guest blogger, Sarah W. of BWI Tucson for putting this information together for us!
It is an unfortunate reality that caregivers who wish to babywear might end up buying a counterfeit, and therefore unsafe, carrier. Beco carriers and Freehand Mei Tais both have been counterfeited, but the most notoriously counterfeited carrier is the Ergo. The babywearing community has taken great pains to try and raise awareness about this issue. Unfortunately, unsuspecting caregivers are still unknowingly purchasing these fake Ergo carriers.
Why does it matter? Authentic carriers made by Beco, Freehand, or Ergo are well-tested for the safety of the wearer and the child being worn. Counterfeit carriers are not held to these same standards. It’s possible for an authentic carrier and a counterfeit one to look nearly exactly alike, however counterfeit carriers may be (and are likely) using substandard materials, including fabric, thread, buckles, and dyes.
There are some precautions we can take when looking at buying a new or used ERGObaby carrier to be sure that what we are purchasing is authentic. Many people before me have created wonderful resources for these purposes and so I am simply going to link a few of these resources here for you to find easily in one place.
It’s important to note that the very best way to verify if a carrier is authentic is to contact Ergo or Beco directly, especially if you are buying used on a trade board or on Ebay. (I’m unable to find information on who to contact for verification of a Freehand Mei Tai.)
ERGObaby on counterfeit Ergo carriers: http://store.ergobaby.com/counterfeits
ERGObaby’s list of authorized retailers: http://store.ergobaby.com/index.php?page=locations
Detailed blog post on how to spot a fake Ergo (please note that this post was written back in 2012 and ERGObaby has updated their logo since): http://thehumbledoula.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/how-to-spot-a-fake-ergo-baby-carrier/
ERGObaby on the new logo: http://blog.ergobaby.com/2012/05/theres-lots-to-talk-about-here-new-look/
Babywearing 102 on counterfeit Ergo carriers: http://babywearing102.tumblr.com/post/56360304556/counterfeit-carriers
Babes in arms, a collection of posts on counterfeit carriers: http://blog.babesinarms.com.au/category/fake-ergobaby-bounty-reported-sites/
PAXbaby on counterfeit carriers: http://paxbaby.com/category/babywearers_unite/counterfeit-carrier-info/
BECO on counterfeit BECO carriers: http://www.becobabycarrier.com/faq.asp (with information on authorized retailers)
ERGObaby used to maintain a list of known retailers of counterfeit Ergo carriers, however it grew too large to maintain online. You can contact ERGObaby directly with questions or concerns about a particular retailer and they should reply in a fairly timely manner. (I contacted ERGObaby through their website to ask where the list had gone, and received a response in less than 24 hours.)
I do know that Ebay and Amazon are both known for selling counterfeit carriers on their websites in the past, but you can find authentic Ergo carriers through both sites as well. Some things to keep in mind when searching for an Ergo on either of those sites is the price (if it seems too good to be true, it probably is), the description (you can compare the description with that on the official ERGObaby site), and the retailer. Buying used can make determining authenticity a bit more difficult, but not impossible. My personal recommendation when buying an Ergo or Beco used is to contact the company (Ergo or Beco depending on what you’re buying), ask what details they’ll need to determine if a carrier is authentic, and then request those details from the seller so that you can determine authenticity.
I hope these tips and information will help you in buying a great carrier that is safe for you and your baby to use!
Babywearing International of Tucson