Popular co-op groups that make bulk purchases of popular items from cloth diapers to amber necklaces to save a few bucks have begun purchasing counterfeit ErgoBaby carriers, too. Cuddly Butt! Cloth diapering & co-ops on Facebook is one such group (I was recently booted & blocked from the group, so I can't link it directly right now).
|The co-op leader makes it very clear these are not authentic.|
People evidently don't like being called out for peddling counterfeit products in the US! WHO KNEW?!?!?
Anyways, since this illegal operation came to light, I have learned that not only has the group & co-op leader been reported to Facebook several times, but many people have also reported this to the appropriate entities in the federal government.
Some of you may find this to be extreme; I don't. Here's why:
1 - These counterfeit ErgoBaby carriers, or "Fergos," as Cuddly Butt! likes to call them, are not just replicas. They are produced to look exactly like legitimate ErgoBaby carriers, right down to the ErgoBaby tag on the front of the carrier.
2 - These counterfeit ErgoBaby carriers are not safety tested for use with infants & children, which is a requirement in the United States. Personally, I am concerned with lead levels coming from untested items in China. It happens frequently with inexpensive children's toys & jewelry.
3 - These counterfeit ErgoBaby carriers are ILLEGAL to sell in the US! The counterfeiters don't pay taxes, aren't held accountable for humane working conditions, & are not held to safety standards for the products they are making. Customs has the authority to seize the imported counterfeit items.
4 - These counterfeit ErgoBaby carriers are purchased for cheap and then re-sold as authentic ErgoBaby carriers to unsuspecting parents who have no idea they are purchasing fakes and have no recourse should something happen to them or their child while using the carrier. Again, this is ILLEGAL!
I'm not the only person upset by this, either. Larger babywearing groups are doing their best to stop the influx of counterfeit carriers within their local communities. Babywearing International of Chicagoland has a great post about the problem with counterfeit baby carriers.
If people were buying knock-offs that weren't trying to actually pass as authentic ErgoBaby carriers, I probably would have walked away. If you want to take that kind of chance with your child to save a few bucks, that's your call. However, the fact that these carriers are repeatedly passed off & resold as authentic carriers to unsuspecting parents & caregivers pisses me off, quite frankly.
|The co-op uses official ErgoBaby carrier names & images for ordering|
Thankfully, a few people have seen the light since this story starting spreading in the babywearing community and have since pulled their orders. Hopefully, more parents will make the ethical, legal, & safe choice in the future. If you are financially strapped, there are resources to buy authentic & safe carriers, both new & used. There are even groups like The Feel Good Child Carrier Movement that offer carriers to parents for the cost of shipping and help connect people to pass on really good "pay it forward" deals. Affordable and downright cheap options exist that are safe and legal.
Babywearing International of the Triangle offers some tips on spotting a quality baby carrier. Check out my babywearing basics post for information about different types of carriers and carrier rental programs.
However, there will always be people who don't care.
|Yep, bringing counterfeit items into the US is H-I-LARIOUS!|
Please help spread awareness of these counterfeit carriers so that other parents & caregivers can be aware of the issues by sharing on twitter, facebook, and in your local babywearing & parenting groups.
Keep wearing your babies...just do it safely.