As reported previously, fake and counterfeit goods are not uncommon online, especially with purchases from certain auction sites. Even companies like Amazon are not immune though, thanks to co-mingling of stock with that from other third-party sellers and returned items. More recently, however, there have been lots of reports of issues with copies of Pandemic, Dead of Winter, Carcassonne, Catan, and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle bought from Zavvi. This is of note, not because of the games (which have been targeted before), but because Zavvi is a reputable high street name.
|– Image by BGG contributor kilroy_locke|
Zavvi is owned by The Hut Group (aka THG), along with a range of other companies that sell everything from lipstick to language services. The Hut Group also own I Want One of Those (aka IWOOT) who have recently been selling quite a lot of games at a good price including Sagrada, Horrified, and Ticket to Ride: London. There doesn’t appear to be any question of the authenticity of these games, but IWOOT have been selling copies of Dead of Winter, Pandemic, Carcassonne and Hogwarts Battle too and these also seem to be fakes, presumably from the same, communal supply as the Zavvi games.
|– Image by BGG contributor zgabor|
Both Zavvi and IWOOT have been reluctant to acknowledge that the games are fake insisting to customers that they “do not handle fake goods”, they “source all stock direct from the brand suppliers”, and “items sold by ourselves are not counterfeit”. Neither Zavvi nor IWOOT are known for selling counterfeits. So, assuming it is against company policy, how their supply chain became contaminated is an interesting question and it is possible that they themselves have been the subject of a deception. It seems unlikely that these fakes were supplied through the usual UK distribution channels, but it is possible they were bought in good faith from another supplier.
|– Image by BGG contributor mikehulsebus|
Perhaps the biggest issue here is the poor Customer Service people have reportedly received, including standard unhelpful replies or an offer of only a partial refund. It seems persistence is the only answer, though reporting the company to the Trading Standards and/or the finance handling service (credit card company or PayPal), can help. For those struggling with IWOOT, suggesting to Customer Services that they look at “ISM ticket 1195382” can also help (ISM is the Ivanti Service Manager ticketing system).