Popular disposable vape brand Elf Bar has ramped up its fight against counterfeit products, intercepting over a million fake vape products bearing its product name.
The brand said the majority of which would have likely ended up with UK retailers and in the hands of British consumers.
The company has been working closely with Chinese authorities to close down more than 20 counterfeit factories, which were found to have collectively produced over a million counterfeits.
“We are working actively with the authorities in China in cracking down counterfeits of our products and have made good progress. Elf Bar, as a socially responsible brand, will continue the efforts to defeat counterfeits and protect the health of our customers,” said Victor Xiao, the chief executive of Elf Bar.
The counterfeiters have also created fake websites which looked identical to the official Elf Bar website. This has made product verification more challenging. Domain names created by the fraudsters include Elfdar.com, Elfbar-tech.com, Elfba.com, Elfbar.link, Elfbar-teoh.com, to just name a few.
“The fraudsters are getting increasingly sophisticated and setting up fake websites that look just like the Elf Bar official site, which could mislead the consumers. Whilst we are locating spoof sites and taking them down, we caution our customers that the fraudsters may continue to set up new domains,” Xiao added.
“We have a zero tolerance to counterfeits as they impact on our reputation, and more importantly bring major health hazards to the vapers and those transitioning from conventional cigarettes to vapes due to their lack of quality control. The counterfeit products do not meet our quality standards, which comply with robust regulatory requirements as set out in the Tobacco Products Directive and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations.”
The company has urged retailers to be alert to the issue and has started to provide distributors with visual information on how to spot fakes.
Xiao said: “For retailers and consumers, we suggest that they verify products by scanning the QR code on the package and ensure it takes them to the official Elf Bar.com domain for verification. If you suspect the product you bought is fake, please drop us a note at [email protected], and we will take appropriate action.”
The company revealed that UK customers and retailers have helped its investigation into counterfeiters by providing evidence of suspicious products they purchased.
“We would like to thank British retailers and our vape customers who have taken the time and effort to alert us of the counterfeits – this has helped us track and trace their sources. By collaborating with the authorities, supply chain partners, distributors and retailers, we are confident that we together can protect our customers from the unscrupulous activities of the counterfeiters,” Xiao said.
The company has also run a campaign #SayNoToFakeElf Bar across social media. This is designed to educate consumers on what they can do to check the legitimacy of their purchased products, how to avoid being a victim of the counterfeiters and what to do in the event if they suspect any wrongdoings.
A recent analysis has warned against the rising cases of counterfeit disposable vapes sold illegally through social media platforms, with the high demand for Elf Bars creating a black market in counterfeit, non-compliant devices, which are often sold to underage users.
On TikTok alone, there are around 205 unofficial accounts selling Elf Bar devices. Some of these accounts are followed by half a million young people and parents are now being urged to educate their children on the dangers associated with illegal vaping products.