Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs Stops Sale of Fake Apple Products
Atlanta, GA – Joe Doyle, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA), announced today that the agency has entered into a settlement with Shay Zvi Lahav, individually, and his companies Easy Sale 4U, L.L.C. d/b/a iPod World and Accessories 2000, L.L.C., over allegations that they passed off counterfeit merchandise as Apple products. The iPod Nano and Shuffle look-a-likes were sold at kiosks identified as “iPod World” in Lenox Mall (Atlanta, Georgia), Cumberland Mall (Atlanta, Georgia), North Point Mall (Alpharetta, Georgia), Town Center Mall (Kennesaw, Georgia), Mall of Georgia (Buford, Georgia), Macon Mall (Macon, Georgia), and Hamilton Place Mall (Chattanooga, Tennessee). Additionally, the counterfeit products were advertised and disseminated via the company’s website www.accessories2000.com.
After receiving a tip on November 28, 2007 OCA sent undercover investigators to visit the “iPod World” kiosks to see whether the allegations could be substantiated. Investigators found that the kiosks offered several different items, ranging from FM transmitters to MP3 docking stations with speakers. Although none of the items for sale were authentic Apple products, the appearance, design, packaging, function and pricing of many of the items were virtually identical to those of genuine Apple products, specifically Apple’s iPod Shuffle and Nano and their associated accessories.
Adding to the allegedly misleading tactics, the salesmen failed to correct customers when they referred to products by their Apple names, and one salesman demonstrated the features of an FM transmitter by using a genuine Apple iPod Nano. Furthermore, the receipt given to the undercover investigator following his purchase of the fake iPod referred to the product as a “Shffle”, just one letter off from the actual Apple product name.
Immediately following the undercover investigation, OCA put kiosk owner Shay Zvi Lahav on notice of alleged violations of the Fair Business Practices Act. On January 7, 2008 Lahav entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with OCA, in which he agreed to refrain from using the terms “iPod” and “iPod World” in his companies’ signs and web sites; to refrain from selling any products whose appearance, functionality and packaging are virtually identical to those of Apple products without posting clear, conspicuous disclaimers asserting that the products sold are not Apple products and that the companies have no affiliation with Apple; pay $20,000 to OCA for investigative and administrative fees; and offer full restitution to affected customers.
Customers who have purchased products from iPod World, Easy Sale 4U, L.L.C. or Accessories 2000, L.L.C. can get a full refund by returning products to either the place of purchase or to 4264 Winters Chapel Road, Building A, Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30360, along with a sales receipt or proof of payment (e.g. cancelled check or credit card statement). Refunds will be offered through February 5, 2008 only.
For more information, contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.