Gary Fong slams fake Lightsphere products on Amazon

Celebrity photographer Gary Fong has published an eight-minute video to highlight counterfeits of his company’s popular flash diffuser product on Amazon.

Fong – who made his name as a big name wedding and event photographer before launching his company, is the inventor of the Lightsphere, which has sold hundreds of thousands of units since it first launched more than 15 years ago.

The device is a patent-protected lampshade-like unit that can be attached to cameras to soften photographs, whilst minimising the loss of light from a flash, and is often used in fashion shoots.

Like any successful product, Lightsphere has been targeted by counterfeiters, and after discovering that cheap, low-quality knock-offs were being sold on Amazon Fong took to YouTube in defence of his brand.

The counterfeits don’t hold their shape and the dome portion falls off easily while the product has a gasoline-like smell. They are also made from an inferior, white coloured plastic that cuts power to the source, unlike the clear plastic used in a genuine Lightsphere.

It’s a blatant case of direct copying, with the Lightsphere packaging, product insert and other components like the mounting strap reproduced entirely to mimic the genuine product in defiance of Fong’s intellectual property, including the trademark.

Fong says reports of domes falling off were one of the first warnings he had that signalled there was a problem with fakes being sold on online retail platforms. The knock-offs appear to come from China.

Alarmingly, a counterfeit Lightsphere listing picked up an ‘Amazon Choice’ label, with the same product number as the genuine article, and arrived with an Amazon “Inspected and Repackaged” sticker.

The $53 counterfeit was also offered only at a modest discount to the $59.95 Gary Fong charges for the genuine, quality product.

“It’s impossible for [consumers] to know which one is the counterfeit because Amazon does not distinguish it,” says Fong in the video.

On the Gary Fong website, the company notes that it gave Amazon the transaction numbers of the counterfeit items, and the e-tailer quickly removed the content and closed the stores.

If you suspect you have purchased a fake you can get more information here.

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