It’s true that it’s buyer beware when purchasing online, from anywhere, not just from eBay. There are numerous trusted sellers, like those that advertise here, and many more beyond that, so one shouldn’t paint all online and eBay sellers with the same brush- I’m just saying that if the item is being purchased sight unseen, there is always the potential for problems.
That having been said, it takes a careful eye to note the differences between the real and fake Rescue Tools. In Neil’s own words:
This morning I received a fake Victorinox Rescue Tool from eBay seller iambear_83
We're all used to seeing knock-off SAKs but this knife is a deliberate attempt to deceive. As you'd expect there's no quality, in your hand it feels much worse than the pictures make it look (click on the little pics for big ones). The most worrying aspect is the blade's lock, it looks as if it could fail easily!
I've contacted the seller (who doesn't have any more up for sale at the moment) and asked for a refund. Obviously I'm a bit annoyed with the seller but I suppose if they've never seen the genuine article before, there's a chance they believed this was the genuine article.
You are warned.
Of course any Victorinox collector or enthusiast would likely spot these issues now that they have been made aware of them, but what about those folks who aren’t familiar with Victorinox quality? Even if someone has been carrying a Victorinox knife for years and purchased this fake Rescue Tool as a replacement, would they know it as a fake, or would they think Victorinox quality has gone down hill in effort to chase the bottom line as many other companies have?
Take Schrade for example- originally they were a reputable US made knife, but since going out of business a few years ago, the name and designs were purchased by Taylor Cutlery (don’t worry, I won’t go into that particular rant here!) and production was moved to China, into the cheapest sweatshop they could find. Now, anyone wishing to purchase a new Schrade model after having carried and used one for years is severely disappointed. While you and I know that Victorinox would never allow something like this to happen, the average person probably would not.
As a result, Victorinox could be somewhat hurt by this kind of thing. As if the usual gamut of cheap copies wasn’t bad enough, at the very least people would realize they weren’t “real” Swiss Army Knives by the lack of a Victorinox (or Wenger) stamp, Swiss Cross or other markings. This Rescue copy includes all the trademarks, which is a bad thing from a legal standpoint as well as a branding standpoint.
This also goes to show just how popular Victorinox’s Rescue Tool is- no one copies anything they can‘t make money off. In the beginning there were a number of folks who wondered if the Rescue Tool was worth the asking price, and foresaw a limited amount of usefulness to the average person, but apparently that isn’t the case, judging by the fact that so far the Rescue Tool is the only model that has been copied. At this point though we can only hope that this incident helps to re-enforce the design ideas integrated into the Rescue Tool, and that we will see removable/replaceable tools on more models in the future.