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Doubts about whether racquets sold in US are all genuine

Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by cleargrip, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. cleargrip

    cleargrip Regular Member

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    Would it be a good idea if Yonex could let us look up the serial numbers on our racquets and verify whether we bought a real racquet?


    It is generally assumed that all racquets we buy from US retailers (of which the names often appear on the forums) are genuine, right? But several things gave me doubts that stuck with me: (maybe there are perfectly good explanations. Could you share them if you know them?)
    1. Why is it that we cannot buy MP-99 in 4U in the US?

    2. I was told by a famous US player / store owner himself that Yonex only exports racquets of grip size 4 to the US (maybe even North America) market, but I have seen racquets with G4.5 in his own store later. Did Yonex change their policy? I was told that they have not.

    3. I bought an MP88 in Asia which I thought was fake. I then compared it with another MP88 bought from a store often mentioned in the forums. The things (little details) that caused me to think I bought a fake racquet are all present on the racquet bought in the US. For example, there is a little flaw on the top of the racquet head frame, inbetween the two longest strings.

    4. And why is it that the stores often mentioned in this forum gradually all stopped listing the prices for the high-end racquets?
     
  2. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    these are good questions and there are good answers to your questions.

    1/2. are really the same answer. the choice of which weight and grip size that a certain market sells is determined by agreement between the local distributor (Yonex USA in this case) and Yonex Japan. the distributor, depending on the demand and market dynamics, import only a certain models. demand for badminton rackets in the US is still quite small compared to other countries, there is no point importing all weights and grip sizes to the market, it will make the products harder to distribute and confuses the consumers.

    as for grip size G4.5, it must be a Ti SP you are looking at. that racket never comes in size G4, as far as i know, every Ti SP comes in G4.5 except for Canada, where it comes in G3.

    3. that little "joint" at the top of the racket exists in most yonex rackets. we have discussed it before and think that it is a artifact of the paint and not a defect.

    see the following thread:

    http://www.badmintonforum.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4832


    4. that happens to many products other than badminton. if you flip a camera mag, you will see many popular models with $CALL on it. not sure why, must be something that the retail business know about.
     
  3. chungg

    chungg Regular Member

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    Mp99 never comes a 4U model, even in Japan, that's why you can't buy one in US.
     
  4. Winex West Can

    Winex West Can Regular Member

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    Good suggestion but still no guarantee as the forger could still use numbers within the valid range.

    Like Chungg said, there are no 4U versions available. The clonex do, however. For example, Winex has a 4U version of the MP99 clone. ;)

    It will all depend on the Yonex distributors and the market demand. Smaller grips are better since you can build up the size easily with overgrips whereas it is harder to trim the size. Yonex themselves limits the size availability to G4, G5 too.

    This "flaw" is actually an indicator to show the mid point of the frame for stringers.

    It is usually not advisable for retailers to list their prices (esp. high-end popular brands) because the market is so competitive. For example, if I list MP100 for US$145, another retailer could tend list his at US$140. Other reasons could be price fluctunation as time goes on, some models drop in price and new supplies coming in could also affect the price.

    One thing for sure that Yonex USA will definitely go after retailers/distributors of fake racquets.
     
  5. cleargrip

    cleargrip Regular Member

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    Serial number lookup and Yonex USA

    Even if the fogers can successfully follow the serical nubmer schemata, if the fogers have to be careful about which serial numbers to use during which period for racquets for which area, then they would have to deal with the same type of logistic issues Yonex have to deal with and they may not be able to sell the forged copies so cheap. Then they may be driven out of business. Wouldn't that be nice?

    What do you think Yonex hoped to achieve by the serial numbers anyway?


    I once called Yonex US and no one there was interested in telling me about how I could report forged racquets or how I could check whether a racquet is genuine, or point me in the right direction. I had the impression that no one there cared much about badminton.

    Thanks to all your help. I was indeed wrong about MP99 4U.
     
  6. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    cleargrip,

    good suggestions you have there.

    btw, have you been following this thread on decoding Yonex's serial numbers?

    http://www.badmintonforum.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8152

    interesting to see that the outlying point is a know fake racket.

    one way for the consumer to guard against fake is to check the serial against the graph.

    presumably Yonex will have a list of imported rackets and their serial numbers and buyers can check the serial number against the list. however, that doesn't help "imported" rackets from other regions.

    furthermore,if a forger is determined to cheat, they can easily just find one genuine Yonex US racket and then stamp all rackets with that number.
     
  7. cleargrip

    cleargrip Regular Member

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    Is there any value to a serial number search?

    I will post my serial numbers tonight to your other thread, Kwun.

    I don't think finding one valid serial value and duplicating it can work that well either. Can they use one pair of numbers on all models of racquets they forge? Maybe there is a way to notice the error / abnormality of using MP serial numbers for Swing racquets?

    Even if the serial numbers are only a function of dates (generic to all models), if most players register their racquets, then the forger would have been caught / noticed by the nth (n<=5?) guy that buy from a forger. "Do you mind if I check this serial number before paying?" "Sure go ahead. Why don't you use my machine here in the store. It is not rigged."

    And if they have to keep looking for genuine serial numbers and changing the serial numbers on the racquets they produce, then their operation cost would be high again.

    By the way, I am not completely convinced on the explanation of why retailers do not list the prices for high end racquets. Racquets are not like plane tickets, and price wars may not make as much sense if the diff is only $5. I would rather pay the $5 or even $15 diff (counting in shipping can the price gap be much bigger than $15?) and buy it at a local store and know exactly what I am getting (and be happy that UPS or USPS never touched my racquet :)
     
  8. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    cleargrip,

    again, good points. here are some more thoughts.

    yonex serial are not specific to a model. MP, cab, SwingPower all adhere to the same serial numbering scheme.

    good point that you have regarding the duplication of serial numbers if the forger only use one.

    here is a solution i think would work, but will require a lot of collected data before hand.

    firstly, we need to build a database of racket serial numbers like we have already started. then plot the graph like we did.

    if we want to check a racket, first check to see if the racket serial number falls smoothly into the curve. if so, good. if not, then we may conclude it is a fake.

    then we check for duplicated number, if so, we can say it is a fake, else, we say it is real given our data.

    it is not a bulletproof scheme, but as the size of the database builds, our certainty goes up.

    still, my suggestion still holds, if a forger is determined to cheat there is a lot that they can do...
     
  9. cleargrip

    cleargrip Regular Member

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    OK, I have posted my serial numbers.

    The MP77 I have (purchased in the US) does not have an obvious 12 o'clock ridge, only an ever so slight hint.

    I compared my MP 88 with one bought in the US very carefully after I returned. Within two months, the copy bought in the US broke. No clash, just a wood shot, or so we remembered (not my racquet, but I was there when it was noticed.) The store supposedly contacted Yonex US and gave a replacement.

    If that was a genuine racquet, I am really disappointed with Yonex. Either ship only effectively QA'ed racquets, lower the price or ship them together with meaningful warranties.
     
  10. reenignelivic

    reenignelivic Regular Member

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    Some doubt on decoding the serial number

    Sorry, I guess you can call me skeptical.

    Is it possible that forgers can use the conclusion on the serial numbers in this forum to make new serial numbers?

    You know, instead of copying serial numbers from existing rackets, a forger can learn from our threads about the secret of the serial numbers and create some new serial numbers...

    May be the reason that USA Yonex guys did not want to tell cleargrip the secret behind the serial number is to hide the truth from the forgers (not saying cleargrip is a forger)....
     
  11. cleargrip

    cleargrip Regular Member

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    I agree with reenignelivic that it probably will be impossible to figure out the complete formula for the serial numberS. (Right now we think Yong and Kwun cracked the scheme for the number on the cone only, right?)

    (By the way, I did not ask for the schemata in the serial numbers when I called up Yonex. I just asked whether they can help me to verify whether the racquet I bought is fake if I gave them the serial number, retailer name, address, and purchase date. Long live security by obscurity.)

    But can forgers easily be able to take advantage of the serial numbers posted here? For one thing, we can easily search the serial number in this forum the next time we buy a racquet.
     

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