Be very careful when buying new GHD's - if the price looks like a bargain, then they are probably fake! This is especially true on market places such as Ebay, Amazon and even some "companies" advertising on Google are selling fakes. If you want to buy GHDs, stick to the reputable salons or the official GHD website.
Fakes are very difficult to distinguish from real GHDs - they come in an original looking box, with instructions, DVD etc. Those people in China are experts at copying anything. Sadly however they cut corners on the design and use sub standard components which causes them to fail very quickly.
Which GHD Models have not been copied?
I have seen fake GHD 3.1b and all Mk4 models including the SS4.0 and MS4.0. The most faked model is the 4.1B - 90% of the 4.1Bs I've seen have been fake. I've not seen any fake Mk5s Gold Series irons yet, but the chances are they exist somewhere.
How to Spot Fakes
It is very hard to tell the difference between a fake pair and a genuine pair of GHD's from the outside. Once opened however, the difference is obvious - the electronics are much lower quality and the build quality is terrible.
The first step to work out if yours are genuine is to try registering them at http://www.ghdhair.com/customer-care/product-registration. If at the end of the process your serial number (the one on the cable) is not recognised, then they are probably fake. I have however seen one pair that the GHD registration process thought were genuine, but were blatantly fake when I took them apart and a genuine pair of irons that come up as fake, so I'd say the GHD registration process is 99.9% accurate.
Some other tell tale signs of fakes:
- They have a different "feel" to genuine GHD's - they are made from a different type of plastic. Obviously you can only tell this when you have a genuine pair next to a fake pair!
- They are pink despite having the model number 3.1b / 4.1b etc ("b" stands for black). For newer 4.2B irons, these is not always true.
- The hinge pin is made from plastic, rather than metal and is not held together with a screw (pop the hinge caps off and you will see this).
- The electronics are different - only one PCB rather than two.
- The connections to the PCB are soldered, not screw terminals. All genuine GHDs that I have seen have screw terminals
- The heaters are a different size - genuine GHD heaters are 15mm x 70mm (well - the 1" wide versions do - genuine wide and narrow plate modesl are different)
- The thermal fuse is a different style. genuine GHD ones are in a small ceramic pot, whereas fake ones are just a fuse wrapped in tape.
- The coating wears off or flakes off the plates.
- They have a purple Euro to UK adapter. To date we've not seen a genuine pair with a purple plug. Normally purple cables have black plugs fitted.
The cable has a different style of connector:
Note that 4.2B and more recent GHDs look slightly different inside to older varieties. These are still genuine and are what we have christened "type 2" GHDs. There is more info here.
Sites Selling Fake GHDs
If a website selling new GHDs is not listed on GHD's website checker then they are probably selling fakes - http://www.ghdhair.com/beware-imitations/website-checker/
Repairing Fake GHDs
If you end up with Fake GHD's and they go wrong then sadly no one will fix them for you - there are so many different fakes, that it's impossible to find common failures or have "standard" repair methods. Therefore it's not cost effective to spend an hour debugging each pair of fakes. Your only hope of getting them fixed is to find a friend who is handy with a multimeter to try and work out what the problem is.
For more details see this FAQ page.
Getting a Refund for Fakes Purchased on Ebay
Trevor B was unfortunate enough to buy a couple of pairs of fake GHDs on Ebay. Here is his account of how he got his money back:
I have now been refunded for two sets of MK4 lookalikes purchased on eBay through PayPal. The first set went without issue, as the seller clearly knew they were fake, and had sold some before.
The second set was a little trickier though. Although PayPal handled the dispute when I 'escalated it to a claim' (meaning PayPal took over!), the seller stood their ground a bit. PayPal wanted independent verification of the products' authenticity - they ignored the fact that I issued photos of genuine internals and fakes, to ascertain the difference. I also provided them with the serial number and a link to the GHD registration page, again to prove that they were fake. They would only accept a letter from an independent as verification (supplied by GHD-Repair.co.uk). Any costs involved here are not refunded...
To claim against the seller you first need to contact the seller in the usual way after purchasing an eBay item. If they do not respond, or are not interested go to PayPal.
Log onto their site and select 'resolution centre'.
Then select 'Item dispute: I did not receive an item I purchased or the item I received is significantly not as described'
Then enter the PayPal transaction number (NOT eBay item number) and 'continue'
Then select: I received my item, but it is significantly not as described.
* The item was damaged or defective.
* The box was empty.
* The order was incomplete.
Then tick the 'Fake' box. Add a message if you want and tell PayPal how much refund you want in the appropriate box. You can ask for a full or partial refund.
It took about a month of arbitration and faxing (yeah faxing!) documents. But I got my cash back in the end. PayPal (or the seller?) wanted the goods destroying prior to issuing a refund. So I had to sign to say I had done this.
Hope this helps someone matey!
Best regards, and cheers once again for your help...
Photos of Fake GHDs
The following GHD's are all fakes (and some of them have gone bang!).
The information provided on this website is intended for use by people competant at repairing electrical products. If you are not confident about carrying out a safe and reliable repair, please consider our repair service. To state the obvious... Irons repaired incorrectly can be very dangerous!
This page was last updated at 9:47pm on 7th November 2013
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