Knock-off mobile devices continue to proliferate into the Kenyan market with many consumers duped to purchase them. In early September, leading OEM in Kenya Samsung Electronics engaged the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Authority in a campaign to get rid of fake devices. The campaign nabbed over 1,000 counterfeit phones valued at Sh50 million. Samsung trademark stickers and packaging materials were also seized. Earlier this week, we told you of an E-commerce site in Kenya ChinaBuy.co.ke which is laced with knock off devices and the same can be seen on popular E-commerce platforms in Kenya as well as in many shops downtown.
To this effect, we sought the clarification of the Communication Authority of Kenya with regards to fake phones. In 2012, the Communication Authority of Kenya , then referred to as Communication Commission of Kenya issued a directive to all telcos operating in Kenya to switch off all fake phones within their systems but not much follow up has been done since. According to the CA, warranty on devices or consumer products purchased by users are not a legal requirement but users are asked to check for themselves during purchase. A user can check if the device they want to buy or already bought by dialing *1555# which queries the global GSMA database. If it’s not listed, then you have a counterfeit.
The CA also has no jurisdiction over “click and mortar” kind of businesses that don’t have inventory locally, so it’s upon you the buyer to check if you have legitimate goods. Communications authority does have an arrangement that makes them allow type approved devices from elsewhere, so they may not necessarily need to be type approved by the CA per se.