We’ve all had the tales of Luthuli. The place where you go to buy a samsung tv just to reach home and find it called samnyong. It happens & it feel terrible being conned like that but such cases have declined with electronics becoming more affordable but the question still exists. Are Luthuli products fake? My name is Nahashon and lets jump right into it.
The quick answer to this videos question is No. Luthuli products are not fake BUT. And its a big BUT. If you blink twice, your original product can be switched with a fake or damaged product or a generic product. The Kenya of today is not the same Kenya of 10 years ago. We have cached up a lot with global trends and even emerging trends and importing items to kenya has become easy. You can watch my video on how to import products after this.
The problem of easy imports has brought with it one big problem though and that is quality control is almost non existent with a lot of products coming from China that are of very low quality.
Now, we need to understand 3 terminologies at this point.
What is an original product.
What is a generic product &
What is a fake product.
Let us use the global electronics company giant Samsung.
Samsung is well known worldwide. They can release a phone called galaxy s20. That on its own is a genuine phone because it comes directly from the manufacturer. Samsung themselves can sell what is called a refurb phone or laptop and this are products which were once sold or were found to be defective and returned to the company for repairs. Sometimes it can something as minor as a scratch on the back of the phone. As long as it has been sent back for a quick fix, it wil be sold back as a refurb and not new. Therefore refurbs are not fake items in fact, you have better luck using a refurb than a generic product. And what is a generic product?
The term generic is more common in the medical world with generic phones costing way cheaper than the orginal drug. This is because the companies that make them didnt have to invest in a lot of research and development of the drug. They Let the original company do it, then they used the same ingredients to make their own. Basically copy pasting.
That logic also applies in the tech world. Generic phones mostly have no brand names or can have a different name but look almost similar to the original and even share the same specifications and material. This doesnt make them fake because a generic phone company wont claim to make the same samsung phone but what they can claim is that their phones have the same exact same specifications with the original
Another unknown company can then build a phone that looks exactly like the galaxy s20. This can only be illegal if it infringes on the design patent of Samsung but if samsung doesn’t have a design patent, then this company that built a phone that looks like a clone of the s20 can sell the smartphone and that is what we call generic.
Now, if the generic product was to slap the Samsung logo on its phone, then that would be a fake product because it claims to be what it isn’t. Therefore mostly when it comes to this products, a lot of legal stuff needs to be looked at but you as a consumer shouldn’t worry about that and its the duty of the person selling items to disclose if its genuine generic or just a fake.
In Luthuli though, most fake products look exactly as the original but their specifications and how they work is completely different. If you browse facebook groups, you will hear terms like High copy which means its an exact clone of the original product.
So what are the reasons for people saying luthuli products are fake?
1 The Price
One concern people have about the products being fake is because they are cheap. The products in luthuli are cheap because most dont have the added 16% VAT tax. The other reason is that the offices they use are smaller and they sell high volumes which makes their profit markup smaller compared to a brand shop that has to pay the VAT and even higher rent in a fancier location unlike the crowded buildings in Luthuli.
When you buy a tv or smartphone from Luthuli, warranty claims become dodgy. If you go to a brand shop, they will take the device and send it to a service dealer. In Luthuli, the shops there instead refer you directly to the service centres which becomes a hustle sometimes having to deal with those shops and this leads to reason number 3
3. They often sell devices for other regions.
This is most common with smartphones. You will buy a samsung phone and they will tell you it has an international warranty but in real sense, the device was built for the Dubai or European market. What that means is that if that device has a problem, the warranty shops in Kenya will not service the device for free even if its still under warranty. You will instead be required to pay normal price for repair or you find a way to ship it out to the country under which its warranty fall in and this is just impossible. This issues make people raise the claims that the products are fake because the local service centers reject them for warranty repairs.
4 The Generic Problem
Everyday in Luthuli you will see a product from a company you’ve never seen or heard of. They sell tvs, speakers, phones, solar panels and everything in between. Most of this items are of very substandard quality and they come from China in bulk. A most common scenario with this products is that they experience a lot of power failures especially tvs and home theatres. This devices dont have any kind of warranty for repairs and you will have to find a repair shop that stocks its parts.
5. The con problem
I mentioned earlier that you can purchase an original product but blink once and you end with a fake. Luthuli has so many electricians too. This guys are smart enough to take parts from different tvs and then flash the software of LG,sony or samsung so that when you power on a tv, you think its a genuine tv. Now, this will be in boxes close to the genuine or even have packaging of an original product. Buy, pay, get distracted for a minute and they switch it with the fake product or repaired product. This has happened to so many people and remains to be an issue and of course illegal just like stealing.
6. The broker problem
You might go to a shop willing to buy an item buy you find so many people standing outside the shop and they are all trying to sell you things in the shop. Its even hard to know who is the owner of the shop and this makes you confused and sometimes they will go to a different shop to get you something and in all that confusion you can easily end up being conned by having your product switched for a fake.
All this shows you how much of a hustle it can be to buy something in luthuli and thats why people would prefer going to an expensive shop and get good service with guaranteed accountability unlike in luthuli where everything is informal with so many weak points of things going wrong. never think you are too street smart to not be conned in Luthuli.
So with all that, have you been a victim of luthuli cons or have a different experience? leave it in the comments section for a chat or visit shadageeks.com and leave a comment. Lets share our experiences.