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Find an Amazing Deal on Brand-Name Tools? They Might Be Fake

Smart shopping can yield some pretty sweet deals on power tools—but if a deal seems a little too sweet, there’s probably something sour about it. Here’s the 411 behind the fake tool racket, and how you can protect yourself.
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fake brand-name tools

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Power tools that look like those made by well-respected brands may not always be what they seem, especially if there’s an unbelievable deal offered. You may have already seen Facebook or Google ads offering a tool or tool kit at half, a quarter, or an eighth of the price you were expecting to spend. For example, some deals that are red flags include multi-piece cordless tool kits for $90, compound miter saws for $100, and table saws for $120. While it appears that the offers are from some of the biggest names in the game, is it too good to be true?

Here’s the deal: Really inexpensive tools probably aren’t made by the real brands they look like. Fake online tool stores posing to be DeWalt and Milwaukee outlets are popping up all over the internet, selling near-perfect replicas for pennies on the dollar. But they’re not perfect, and it’s a serious problem. It has become a big enough issue that DeWalt has posted information about how to tell if a tool is a genuine DeWalt product or if it is a fake.

Keep reading to learn more about fake tools, and find out how you can shop safely for a deal.

How are fake branded tools made in the first place?

Seedy manufacturers can produce spot-on replicas of anything. High-end wristwatch manufacturers are painfully aware of the issue as they’ve been fighting fakes that fool even the savviest of watchmakers for years. The plastic, rubber, and metal that make up power tools are even easier to fake.

Once produced, these replica DeWalt and Milwaukee power tools are incredibly easy to market. Some fake tool stores even use DeWalt and Milwaukee product images, while others might shoot original photography.

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How do fake tool stores work?

fake brand-name tools

With a supply of fake tools to ship—well, sometimes they actually ship the tools to customers—these nefarious tool peddlers set up fake tool stores online, using realistic names such as “Milwaukee Tool Outlet” or “Dewalt Tools.” These tools typically pop up, advertise incredibly low-priced DeWalt or Milwaukee tools, make a few sales, and shut down within a few weeks.

These tool stores look legit on the surface. They use attractive images, the brand’s logo, and a clean layout to make shopping as easy as possible. Truthfully, the only way to tell that these stores aren’t real (besides the ridiculous prices) is to ensure they’re a tool brand’s Authorized Retailer. Keep reading for more on how to do that.

The seller may not actually have any tools. 

It appears that there are just a few goals of these fake tool stores, and they all have to do with money. They either make a quick buck or get a hold of the customer’s credit card information. Most of the time, the shopper will receive a fake tool that looks alright but fails in quality. Sometimes, there aren’t any tools to ship to the customer.

Some shoppers who’ve fallen victim to fake tool sales report that they never received any information from the fake DeWalt or Milwaukee stores. Others report receiving a tracking number for another product being delivered to their area. However, the tracking number isn’t associated with the product they ordered, and it isn’t being shipped to their home.

RELATED: This DEWALT TSTAK Tool Organizer Is Affordable, But Does It Work?

How can you tell if you’re actually buying a top brand’s tool? 

DeWalt has been trying to get ahead of these scams and even has a page on its website dedicated to awareness. However, it can be hard to tell whether a tool is fake or from the real brand without doing a little leg work.

DeWalt makes it a little easier for consumers to check a seller’s status with its DeWalt Authorized Dealer link. Users can search their area for a nearby authorized dealer or check out some of the online-only dealers. Milwaukee doesn’t have an authorized retailer link yet, so make your tool purchases from well-established stores. Off-brand stores and “outlets” are suspect, so it’s best to play it safe than end up without any tool or a cheap knock-off.

If it seems too good to be true…

Fake brand-name tools

DeWalt and Milwaukee power tools are some of the oldest, most trusted names in the power tool game. Their products are highly regarded, and both companies put a lot of time and effort into the research, production, distribution, and marketing of their products. That effort costs money.

No one’s denying that there are profit margins in the power tool sales industry. However, these big companies cannot afford to sell power tools at $20 to $30 apiece. If the deal you’re contemplating seems too good to be true, it usually is.

RELATED: The Best Tool Brands of 2021

Smart shopping is the best defense.

The best defense against fake DeWalt and Milwaukee power tool stores is smart shopping. It’s important to know the price of the real products as well as the low price they might hit when they’re on sale. Also, check store reviews. Hint: If there aren’t any reviews, the “store” is probably too new to consider legitimate.

Should someone fall victim to one of these scams, they should immediately alert their financial institution so further charges don’t go through. They should also review all of their transactions and dispute the ones that don’t seem legitimate. As far as recovering cash from the fake tool store, that ship sails the minute the sellers change their URL.

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