My Fake / Counterfeit USB Flash Memory Key

I was shopping for a new USB key last week, and went to Unity Plaza (where many local computer shops). I was thinking of getting a 4GB one and many shops had Kingston and Transcend ones all ranging from Rs. 2000 – 2500. So without much care grabbed a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler (DT100/4GB) at “Data Master Computer Systems”. Great price, great size, you can’t go wrong – or can you?

After returning to home with the new USB stick in hand, I plugged it into my PC. Everything appeared fine and everything worked fine too. Then I wanted to register this at Memory Technologies (Kingston distributor in Sri Lanka), but then only I found that this is not some thing sold through them. But as I know many shops here bring stuff directly I tried verifying this at Kingston Asia web site, and the reply mail stated like this.

You have entered the following information:

Serial Number: TC08608-01303044
License Key: E975GX1-03B0610D
The flash memory product you inquired was already registered by another user, so it may not be authentic Kingston memory product.  We suggest that you double check the information on the product label. (Refer to the Kingston Verification website for details).

So I though of dropping a mail to explaining the stuff and their reply was this.

Dear Nimal,

We thank you very much for your email. Customers like you are neccassary to vouch for the awareness campaigns we try to drive into customers. As you would have noticed in our registration page we go to great lengths to show customers what the original products look like. As you must now be aware the product you have purchased would not match the outward appearance of the original kingston product. – to say the least!!
All in not lost for you; please bring your product to our service center located at No.14 Palmyrah avenue Colombo 3. We will try our best to help you recover your investment.


Thanks & Best Regards

Then today I though I’d go to that shop where I bought and ask for a refund or a genuine replacement. I went there at around 3.30pm today. There when I just took the Memory stick (with the cover) out of my bag and gave it to a salesperson there, he didn’t ask anything from me and said to another on saying, “Here is another one seems not working, give him a replacement”. It sounded little crazy and told him my problem is not that but this one is not genuine. That’s when we noticed colours in the faces of many sales guys there. Most of them started talking with eyes, and he then agreed to give a replacement for that, without any further questions. Manager was saying “… get one of those from ‘the other model’..”, and was speaking more with his eyes with the sales person.

Two things we could derive from this:

  1. They have been getting many of the sold one returned as not working.
  2. They are aware they are selling fake/counterfeit products of Kingston DataTraveler.

So I demanded him as they are selling counterfeits, I prefer a refund, or else with a genuine one.
He promised he would replace it with a genuine one, but it won’t validate with, but with Kingston Asia, as he claimed “… we don’t sell products got from, but we directly get them from Singapore”. I though its an OK deal, provided that I could come back on another day if verification fails again. So he gave me the replacement one, and it was not a surprise that its of a different model (DTI/4GB). As I had no time to talk further, returned home with the replacement.

And finally when I verified this replaced one it appeared to be genuine. Done..!!

You have entered the following information:

Serial Number: KC10965-00069150
License Key: G888GX1-3770840D
The flash memory product you inquired about has been verified to be an authentic Kingston product.  All Kingston memory modules carry a manufacturer warranty.   Thank you for selecting Kingston.

Lessons (for me):

  1. Pay attention even when I buy little things.
  2. Try to buy from local distributors or their agents.
  3. Try to do verifications on-line, many products have on their web site.
  4. Write a post when something like this happens, but try to take photos, audio or video… 🙂

Some links :

Automount USB Device in Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

There is(?was) a bug in Ubuntu Feisty Fawn which prevented me from auto mounting my USB drives. I was having this problem for sometime in UbuntuStudio, and I was thinking it was specific to that. But when I installed Feisty recently I had the same problem. (I know Gusty is just about to release…) So i found this after bit of a deep search, that fixed it right up.

Its just one line of code, that worked:

sudo modprobe -r ehci_hcd

Don’t know what happened nor how long the fix will last. I found this solution from here, so refer here for more details from here.