BlackRapid is taking to social media to warn customers about counterfeit hardware being bundled into kits by some retailers. Not only can the hardware put your gear at risk, but any damage that results from using counterfeit gear will not be covered by the warranty on your authentic BlackRapid gear.
“It has recently come to our attention that some retailers are bundling our straps with non-BLACKRAPID branded parts and accessories,” BlackRapid writes. “Our warranty specifically states that the use of any non-genuine parts or accessories from other brands could cause damage to the ConnectR or FastenR and voids the warranty.”
But the problem is that it may not always be obvious to photographers when non-official BlackRapid parts are bundled with genuine products.
“One of the biggest offenders is the non-genuine fastener, made to look like our patented FR-3 or FR-5 FastenR products,” BlackRapid says. “The inferior knock-off fasteners are prone to thread wear and/or breakage, which can cause the camera to drop, or the fastener can snap off and get stuck inside the camera’s tripod mount.”
Here’s a visual side-by-side comparison guide with some tips on how to distinguish between fake and real:
“Non-genuine parts can also cause abnormal wear and tear on the strap and other hardware, causing the genuine BLACKRAPID parts to fail due to this abnormal strain,” BlackRapid says. “All our parts and materials are designed to work together to properly support your camera under normal conditions.
“[…] we cannot be responsible for the performance – or lack thereof – of non-genuine BLACKRAPID parts and accessories, and the use of such parts will necessarily void the warranty.”
If you’re uncertain as to whether or not the parts you received bundled with your BlackRapid gear is genuine, the company invites you to contact its customer relations department for assistance.
And even if you don’t use BlackRapid gear, keep an eye out for counterfeit hardware and accessories, especially if you purchase your equipment from less reputable sources. Other companies likely have the same policy of counterfeit gear voiding warranties. Caveat emptor.