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Counterfeit Mitutoyo digital calipers

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#1
I posted about this the "must have tools" thread but I thought it might get missed there by someone buying Mitutoyo calipers from a questionable source. I bought a set on Amazon from a 3rd party vendor for a great price ($64). I was assured by the vendor before purchase that they were the real deal but of course they were not. I did some internet research on the subject and found a couple of helpful sources to help in identifying a fake.



https://orcinus24x5.tumblr.com%2Fpost%2F85895171143
It is a pretty good fake, the only thing that prevents me from keeping it is the play in the jaws as shown in the Isik's Tech video.

This is a list things that confirm it is a fake.
-the label on the back of the head says "Serlal No instead of "Serial No"
-The label on the back says "U.S. PAt" instead of "U.S Pat."
-The locking knob can be removed on the fake, this is not true of a genuine one.
-the least significant digit is half the size of the others where it the same size as the others on a genuine one.
-the serial number on the caliper is different than the one on the inspection document.
-there is about 1 mm of slop between the jaws like Isak's video shows, the genuine one has no play.
-the access holes on the plastic cover do not line up correctly with the adjustment screws on the caliper head
-the instructions on the label on the back say you need to hold the "zero/abs" button for 2 seconds to switch from "inc" to "abs" modes. this one switches instantly. The genuine one at work functions the way the label describes.

Some other observations: The outer cardboard sleeve on this one has very faded looking graphics like is described Isik's video. There is no battery with the caliper. It does not have silky smooth movement like the genuine one at work.

Here you can see
-the label on the back of the head says "Serlal No instead of "Serial No"



Here you can see
-the least significant digit is half the size of the others where it the same size as the others on a genuine one.



Here you can see
-the access holes on the plastic cover do not line up correctly with the adjustment screws on the caliper head



Here you can see
-the serial number on the caliper is different than the one on the inspection document.



I have compared the fake one to an older Mitutoyo that I use at work and there is no comparison in the feel, the genuine one is super smooth to use and flawless in repeatability. The fake feels much rougher and does not repeat reliably. I really wanted a new Mit. for home use so I ordered one from KBC Tools when they were on sale for $150. Here are a few more pictures for comparison.

The biggest differences are hard to see. There is noticeable play between the 2 jaws on the fake and none on the genuine one. You can see the difference in this pic. The fake is on the bottom here.



I believe this is responsible for the less than reliable repeatability on the fake.

Un boxing the 2, hard to tell any problem here although the fake has a faded look to all the graphics on the cardboard. No graphics at all on the real deal. (fake on top here)



The plastic cases look the same but the plastic hinge on the fake is very stiff and feels like it will break every time you open it. The real deal case has a much more flexible hinge, the same as the 15 year old case I use at work. It is still intact in spite of being used daily.



With the case open it is again hard to see any difference. The real deal comes with a genuine Mitutoyo SR44 battery attached to the documents, the fake had no battery.



Not much difference is obvious here. You can see the extra clearance in the jaws on the fake at the top. Notable is that the knurled slide lock knob can be completely removed on the fake but not on the real deal. The tag attached to the real deal has a slot in it so it can be removed. The fake tag has no slot so you have to remove the knob to get it off.



Knurling on the knob is very crisp on the real deal, not so much on the fake.



Not much to see here, both look great! (fake on bottom here)



Fake on top here





Here you can see the difference in the displays, on the fake the last digit is half size.



As far as measuring goes I tried measuring 3 micrometer standards, 1", 3" and 4". They both agreed within .0005" on each measurement. The real deal repeating every time, the fake measuring +- .0005" each time.
So the fake is not really all that bad and for $64 probably not a bad buy, but it is not a genuine Mitutoyo. The difference in feel between the 2 is instantly apparent, the real deal is so smooth compared to the fake.





The inspection report has the same serial number as the tool on the real deal.



Hard to tell the difference here. (fake on top) Of course the sticker is perfectly straight on the real deal.



Is the real deal really worth more that double the money? That's for you to decide. Too bad they can't arrest the counterfeiters but of course they are in China someplace.
 
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DPittman

Active Member
#2
Did you end up returning yours to Amazon? I'm still waiting to receive mine but I see the same dang thing (but without the Mitutoyo name) on Banggood for $27.
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#3
I'm still negotiating with the vendor, there is a bit of a language barrier. So far the best offer has been "keep the tool and we'll refund 20%. I told them no, I want a full refund or I will file a grievance with Amazon. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#5
I settled for a 50 % refund. I'm willing to pay $32 for the imitation Mitutoyo I guess. I did leave a product review calling it out as counterfeit but I don't know if it will get posted. I see that somone else has also.
 

DPittman

Active Member
#6
I settled for a 50 % refund. I'm willing to pay $32 for the imitation Mitutoyo I guess. I did leave a product review calling it out as counterfeit but I don't know if it will get posted. I see that somone else has also.
Did you have to do all that through the seller or did that happen with amazon. How did they repay you if it was the seller? Yes $32 sounds reasonable.
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#7
I used Amazon to request a refund. The seller then has to contact you within 2 days. I went back and forth with the seller a few times including sending them pictures. Dealing with 3rd party vendors on Amazon is a bit of a crap shoot but in the end Amazon will make sure you are satisfied. They credited the refund back to my credit card.
 
#12
If it's a retailer it's pretty easy to check if they are legitimate Mitutoyo retailers. If it is just a guy selling one, I guess it's possible. If there is more than one available then I would say they are for sure fake. $120 is an awful lot for fakes that can be had for $30. If they are real a guy could likely get full retail price ($165+) out of them pretty easy, so why are they selling for $120?
 

Tom Kitta

Active Member
#13
You paid to much - $32 is a lot for imitation - you can get imitation ones on eBay for just around $20 with free shipping or even less.

Amazon is great with customers - far and wide better then with the sellers. They would probably closed the seller's business and refunded you all the money without you even needing to return it. You were nice to that seller.

As a side note some cheap $20 imitation ones are not that bad - roughly the same as brand XYZ without the fake logo. After all they use same components.

The more expensive $30+ fakes are much harder to spot.
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#14
I think the con artists know exactly to maximize their odds. If they list them at 25% of retail, very few people would believe they are real. But if they list them at 80%, then it potentially looks like a good deal. If 25% of people get wise & demand a refund, they are still 75% ahead. But the scam revolves around the false pretenses (lying). If they had to be honest & the label said NOT Mitutoyo, NOT made in Japan, NOT made with same components... then asking price would be moot because you would have more insight into what you were actually buying & better judge of fair price. That's the bizarre thing. If they sprayed them fluorescent green & gave them a zippy name & listed for $30, they would probably do a booming business vs. all that energy attempting to trick people.
 

Tom Kitta

Active Member
#15
I am puzzled why would anyone think they can trick someone buying expensive calipers. I mean who buys these - not any homeowner I know. No homeowner or average Joe would buy the real thing at $160+ Heck I don't own these...

This fake is designed by the "fake stuff mfg. co." to be used same way as other fakes - mainly clothing. Owner cannot afford Arcterix clothing - I mean who on Earth pays $600+ for average waterproof jacket and $1000+ for top of the line one (I have one - I bough it long time ago... but I climb big mountains not walk around town). Since average Joe cannot afford 600-1000 flimsy jacket & main use is to parade around town he or she buys a fake for $100. They still can show off the label & it still works for average downpour - its only like 10% inferior in weight / durability/ breath-ability compartment - nothing to worry about around town or even hiking. Most of the time the person buying these jackets knows that they have a fake.

Thus fake Mitutoyo are designed for average Joe homeowner who may have friends visit his garage - or he is making youtube video - and he wants to look cool. For average Joe the capabilities of the fakes are totally fine. He doesn't exactly need the extra 10%. Accuracy of 0.1mm is totally acceptable. This is why $20 is totally worth it.

Now some clothing salesman are very bad and try to pass the fake for real thing... and instead of $600 they put it on sale for ... $450. Same for some eBay salesmen whom do the same with fake Mitutoyo.
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#17
On the question " why would anyone spend that much money on a real Mitutoyo...

I personally know 5 guys who are home warriors that paid full price for a Mitutoyo caliper. Even though I own 2 iGauging calipers, one day I will own a Mit also.

First, they are very well made. Far better than anything else on the market.
They don't burn up your batteries. (yes you can take the batt out when not in use, in fact I do).
The blades are very tough, and harder than the iGauging (we checked on a $5000 hardness tester)
The *feel* of using a superb tool cannot be underestimated. They are a dream to use.

- of all the things that might bring you joy and used often in your shop, $160 (on sale) is one of the cheaper ways to enjoy working your shop. Almost anything else professional quality is far more costly.
 

Tom Kitta

Active Member
#18
Home warrior is not your average guy that owns a hammer and maybe an electric drill & probably only heard once or twice about something called calipers. He or she also doesn't have any equipment to take advantage of accuracy given by quality tool - there is a limit to what you can do with a hand drill.

Certainly great measuring tools are an asset & great to use or maybe even in some cases necessary.

On the other hand even professionals admit that a lot of measuring tools take a lot of abuse and for certain uses a cheap dial indicator may be far better deal than expensive one given short life span.
 

Tom Kitta

Active Member
#19
For anyone interested the original calipers are $161 with free shipping on Amazon.ca :

https://www.amazon.ca/Mitutoyo-500-...srs=11990185011&ie=UTF8&qid=1549393528&sr=8-1

8" version is $75 more.

Old school vernier calipers are $80 :

https://www.amazon.ca/Mitutoyo-530-...rs=11990185011&ie=UTF8&qid=1549393877&sr=8-48

Chinese made Mitutoyo (original Mitutoyo but made in China) & a bit less accurate than the $161 version, non advanced sensor - $134:

https://www.amazon.ca/Mitutoyo-Abso...=UTF8&qid=1549394055&sr=8-138#customerReviews