Following the discovery of counterfeit networking equipment at four of its resellers, Cisco has urged any corporate users who think they might have bought fake kit to contact it immediately.
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The story was revealed in Computer Weekly's sister publication Microscope, which obtained a letter sent by Cisco to its partners last month. It said, "Recent investigations by Cisco Systems revealed that a number of resellers were dealing in counterfeit Cisco equipment. As a result of these investigations, trading standards officers, accompanied by police officers, executed search warrants on premises at four different locations across the UK on 1 September 2005.
"Samples of the products have been tested by Cisco engineers and were found to be counterfeit."
Cisco told Computer Weekly it was prevented from naming the resellers. In a statement, it said, "If for any reason Cisco determines that an authorised channel partner has violated its contract and sold counterfeit Cisco product, Cisco will require that partner to replace such product with genuine Cisco product free of charge. Cisco will also take steps against the partner concerned to deal with the situation."
Bryan Lewin, head of trading standards at Northamptonshire County Council, said, "North-amptonshire is involved in an investigation into counterfeit Cisco equipment."
He said companies looking for branded IT equipment should ask themselves three questions:
- Is the reseller someone you will contact again?
- If the reseller insists on visiting your company to make the sale, why can you not visit their premises instead?
- How can a reseller afford to sell IT goods at a price that is too good to be true? Lewin said if the price sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.