INTERVIEW


Fighting Counterfeits, Protecting Brands

Counterfeit refrigerator water filters that appear to come from legitimate producers are duping a growing number of consumers. AHAM, along with its members, is exposing this problem and fighting back against the risks it poses to health, safety and brand integrity.

To the average consumer, counterfeits appear identical to water filters manufactured by legitimate brands. This means that if consumers manage to spot the poor performance, the brand, not the counterfeiter, may get the blame. If that happens, the brand could lose a customer forever.


More importantly, consumers who are fooled by counterfeit water filters could be exposed to impurities that a legitimate filter would remove. In addition, because the counterfeits are not built to proper specifications, including food grade materials, it has been shown that counterfeit filters can leach toxic chemicals into drinking water. It is also known that counterfeit filters can damage the refrigerator or cause leaks that damage consumers’ property. Testing of counterfeit products by reputable testing agencies such as IAPMO, NSF International, and the Water Quality Association has confirmed the health and safety risks to consumers.

Just as they pose risks to consumers’ health and property, counterfeits can damage a brand’s reputation. Counterfeiters’ tactics include the illegal use of brand names and intellectual property, such as logos and brand graphics. AHAM is actively working to drive consumers away from counterfeit filters and keep counterfeits off the market through the Filter it Out campaign. The campaign, a partnership between AHAM and a number of its members, aims to raise consumer awareness about the risk of counterfeits and point consumers toward legitimate sources for purchasing replacement filters.

The campaign consists of a website, outreach to media and testing to show the risks of counterfeits. AHAM is also promoting the campaign to policymakers by encouraging more action by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify shipments of counterfeits before they reach the market. AHAM members who participate in the campaign are included in the Filter it Out directory of reputable purchase sources for replacement refrigerator water filters.

AHAM is actively working to drive consumers away from counterfeit filters and keep counterfeits off the market through the Filter it Out campaign.

The risks associated with counterfeits must be better understood so that consumers avoid the potential harm they pose to their appliances, homes and, most importantly, the health and well-being of their families.