Thursday, October 29, 2015

Learning from an Amazon "Newer Galaxy" fraud: I too am prey.

I’ve been digging into thunderbolt 2 lately. It’s an orphan technology — sure looks like Apple has given up on it. In retrospect either Apple or Intel needed to make their own hubs — in a low-trust world leaving this to dying 3rd party manufacturers was a mistake.

For now I’ve settled on the OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock. It’s not perfect, I still have suspicions about how it performs under load. I wouldn’t be surprised if I need to power cycle it every few days. Yeah, like I said, Apple needed to make this. I tested it next to an Elgato hub with similar USB 3 performance, the deciding feature was support for legacy firewire 800.

During the testing period I used a (too) short thunderbolt cable bundled with the Elgato, but that’s going back with the return. Due to a misunderstanding about Apple cable prices I decided to get a OWC 2m cable, but in a moment of weakness I ordered it from Amazon (Prime shipping, speed, etc).

That is, I ordered from an Amazon page that said OWC cable on it, via “Newer Galaxy Distribution Company”. The page looked like this:

OWC cable

Yeah, look closely, It says made by OWC and the image has OWC on it, but the page title doesn’t actually say OWC. On the other hand, the text says:

Utilizes the latest Thunderbolt chipset for high-speed 10Gb/s Thunderbolt and 20Gb/s Thunderbolt 2 devices
Enhance video workflows with support for faster 4K video transfers + 4K display capabilities via DisplayPort 1.2
1 Year OWC Limited Warranty

So I was stupid, yes, but I wasn’t completely misguided. I even inspected “Newer Galaxy”’s sales count and ratings — though I know ratings systems of this sort are almost completely fake.

Damn. I know better than this. Yes, it was Amazon Prime, but that only means the returns are easier. It doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.

This is what’s being shipped:

Shipped cable

A “2M” cable. It’s not actually a counterfeit cable at this point, it’s just not what I ordered.

There’s an upside to this experience. I can share it here for one, and every story like this is a small push for Amazon reform. Amazon returns are very easy, and for frauds like this there’s no return postage fee. (I’ll reference this blog post in the return comments.)

For another, I’ve also learned that I’m not as good at spotting fraud as I should be — I blame that on age. The data is clear that most of us become prey after age 55 or so. Prey have to learn fear, and I’m learning.

Best of all I learned that Apple has dropped its price on 2m thunderbolt cables from $60 to $40 (that price drop is probably why trustworthy alternatives have disappeared). So I’ll do that instead.

It would be good to have a trustworthy alternative to Amazon… 

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