Customs officials in the UK have cautioned consumers regarding the appearance of counterfeit Nintendo DS and DS Lite systems on the market.
As reported by pocketgamer uk, hundreds have been seized already. Most were purchased from Asian websites which advertised "genuine Nintendo products."
Beyond the fact that the systems aren't the geniune article, officials report that some are packaged with faulty electric adaptors which could catch fire.
Pamela Rogers, head of IP enforcement for HM Revenue & Customs, commented:
UK consumers must be vigilant when purchasing goods online. Buy from a reputable or regulated site and, if purchasing from outside the UK or a new website, research the site – check all the facts before you buy.
At best, these consoles would have led to disappointment on Christmas morning; at worst, they could have caused serious harm or injury. Counterfeit goods also cause considerable damage the UK economy by undermining genuine UK retailers and small businesses who are honest and abide by the rules.
While game publishers group ELSPA lauded the seizures, pocketgamer had a bit of a whinge over its perception that industry-generated system shortages may drive frustrated parents to look beyond normal retail channels for their holiday shopping:
It's hard not to raise a cynical eyebrow... ELSPA's comments actually highlight a difficulty that these console-shopping parents – who typically aren't as aware what they're buying in a jargon-saturated market – suffer from when manufacturers continually imply, and even are accused of deliberately causing, product shortages on the run up to Christmas.
When a website offers a solution that Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and others are unwilling to provide, it's hard to blame those parents for taking the chance at not disappointing their kids come Christmas morning.
Keeping a diligent eye peeled is always good advice, of course – we just recommend that eye is sometimes turned towards those big companies who appear to indirectly support the piracy industry through their own greed and attempts to play the consumers against the retailers. There, we've said it.