That Coolmax and Lycra bike stuff you bought online? It wasn't from the website bikejersey.com or Cycleoutfit.com, was it?
If so, you might have bought yourself an expensive piece of counterfeit merchandise.
The Homeland Securities Investigation office in Houston announced today they'd shut down 10 websites for selling fake bike equipment like high-end carbon frames and clothing. The sites are now owned by the U.S. government and display a banner informing consumers what's gone on.
The fake stuff also carried the brand names of SRAM, Cervelo, Pinarello, Specialized and INVISTA.
"The seizure of these domain names is an important tool in HSI's continuing efforts to protect the consumer from sub-par and dangerous goods," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. "HSI special agents are also committed to protecting the rights of businesses that play by the rules so that they can remain competitive and support our economy."
Specialized engineers looked at some of the stuff being sold under their company's name.
"Our engineers have tested counterfeit frames in our lab and frankly they don't hold up. They failed our impact and fatigue tests and the aluminum head tube cups de-bonded, making steering vague and loose -- that is simply not safe," says Andrew Love, head of brand security at Specialized. "The counterfeiters just want to make a sale; they have zero interest in the customer. Our product integrity and rider safety are very personal for us."
The counterfeiters received more than $90,000 in proceeds via PayPal during ther operations, investigators said.
besidesthe two already mentioned, the websites taken over by the feds are Ecyclingonline.com, Ecyclingjerseys.com, Bike-jersey.com, Teamscycling.com, Samewood.com, Cycling-jersey.net, Cyclingyong.com, Yongcycling.com.
No arrests have been made.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.