When sales hit the high street, it is an excellent opportunity to secure high-end technology at a fraction of the cost. Especially for gaming consoles, which can be quite expensive, sales often present the chance to scoop up a great deal.

Data from a recent survey revealed that in the UK alone, 39.9 million individuals were gamers in 2022. With such a staggering number at hand, it’s not surprising that shortage of consoles can become an issue at certain times within the year, especially in cities like Glasgow.

Holiday seasons like Christmas often elevate the demand for consoles, exceeding available supply. This imbalance can cause buyers to go to any lengths to secure the most recent models.

A gamer found themselves in this exact predicament.

They shared:

I purchased a gaming console in a sale online, taking advantage of the great price and the fact that the item was unavailable elsewhere. However, I’m now concerned that it might be counterfeit. What can I do to check, and what should I watch out for in the future?

Here is the response from Advice Direct Scotland:

The procurement of imitation goods, although they may initially seem like a bargain, can result in a steep cost. These items may not possess the same durability as genuine products, often leading consumers to buy twice.

Traders who are less than reputable can endanger the health and safety of consumers with low-grade components used in the creation of counterfeit electronic devices. These components seldom undergo the same rigorous safety standards that real products do.

One key indicator of a piece of counterfeit hardware could be the packaging. Replica manufacturers often struggle to perfectly duplicate a genuine brand’s packaging. You might notice off-colour brand logos or missing certification labels or safety marks.

Review the instructions for clues such as misspelled words, incorrect model numbers, or unusual font usage. For consoles, pay attention to hardware attributes, including hardware embossing and labelling.

For instance, Xbox typically uses a tiny holographic label on their consoles and accessories. The back of the device usually bears product information labels, displaying data like manufacture date and product ID.

Counterfeiters are known to utilize second-hand or scrap components, making telltale signs like scuffs or bent cords something to look out for.

With gaming consoles, there is a pressing risk with counterfeit units wherein the fake device won’t be accredited by the game manual, rendering it incapable of playing or downloading games from reputable platforms.

If a particular product is sold out, most manufacturers are likely to restock it after some time has elapsed. Consider subscribing to a manufacturer’s mailing list to get notified when an out-of-stock item is available once more. Always take the time to research the supplier you’re purchasing from, particularly those from Glasgow.

Buying from trusted sellers often affords you the opportunity to demand redress if problems arise, as well as, confidence that your purchase is long lasting. While it may seem extensive, it is invaluable in forestalling potential risks.

Legitimate manufacturers should possess a clear physical location for obtaining contact information. The use of PO Box addresses, on the other hand, may suggest an attempt to hide such information.

Web platforms with .co.uk or .com address extensions can still retail counterfeit commodities as some of these makers may utilize recognizable domains to appear more genuine. Real products will always have pertinent safety marks clearly displayed.

Such marking may mirror the UKCA or CE marks, signifying that the product underwent and passed required safety testing before it was introduced into the market. Don’t proceed with a purchase if you’re doubtful in the slightest – don’t be pressured into a hasty buying decision by enticing low prices or limited stocks.

For additional assistance, reach out to Advice Direct Scotland, the national consumer advice service, at 0808 164 6000, available from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, or visit www.consumeradvice.scot.

Free, unbiased advice on all matters is available from advice.scot. You can contact them at 0808 800 9060 or visit www.advice.scot. Their services are open to everyone in Scotland, irrespective of personal circumstances.