If you were to ask the average British locksmith if he would like to buy some fake or rip-off locks he would be rather horrified. He would ask ‘why should I buy and resell cheap inferior copies when I can sell the good stuff of known quality and sleep at night’?
No doubt you, the honest locksmith, will know some charlatans who will indeed instal the rubbish and you view them with some contempt. Quite rightly so since they are putting their customer’s house, car or possessions at unnecessary risk.
A bit further up the scale we find the booming market for fake and facsimile locksmith equipment made in China. There is an avalanche of it with many copies appearing under different names, mostly calculated to deceive. There is virtually no original design or research in our industry coming out of China. They rely upon copying, more or less accurately. Some manufacturing cost is also saved by using cheaper materials or cutting some safety features. I spoke a few weeks ago to a locksmith who sincerely believed that he could buy a Miracle A9 from China for $1000 less than our bare manufacturing cost at our South Korean factory!
Those of us who are in the field of development of equipment will know how staggeringly costly it is to do original research and design. That is not on the scale of getting a new medical drug to the market but since most of us are far smaller than the Big Pharma it is essential that we can recover that cost eventually. That has to be done by collecting a bit back from each machine or device sold and that means that hundreds of sales need to be made. I know of 3 British inventors who did their boots simply trying to get a device to the marketable stage .That becomes ever more difficult to achieve as the Chinese leap on every new device and start to deconstruct it. I should add that we are not the only industry that is affected – it goes right through the technology sphere. None of us can afford the legal protection that giants like General Motors or Pfizer Pharmaceuticals can.
There are further problems when you buy these pirate machines and those may directly affect you – the working locksmith;
- You have no hope of getting any sort of technical back-up.
- There will be no UK stock of spares.
- There will be few, if any, updates so your equipment gradually becomes almost obsolete.
- Your real landed cost may quite different to what you thought it would be.
- No lease finance will be available. Banks don’t finance dross.
- There will be no resale value worth talking about.
Quite often we hear from people with these fakes who want to buy dedicated supplies, even spares from us. They are startled to learn that we have no intention at all of assisting them.
Then there is the effect on the industry as a whole. Modern locksmiths are totally dependent on being able to cope with new security technology. If the committed developers stop investing in new research and design your entire livelihood is threatened since the Chinese will not do the work. If you buy the Chinese fakes who will spend money to develop new stuff?
Victor Southern of Lockdecoders Ltd