The comments below on Behalf of our legal Team pertain to the 3M Letter/Communication on Duplicated Respirator LOTS/Counterfeit products on the 18th of December 2020.This Letter can be accessed via the 3M Website here.
In a step, which will be viewed by many genuine sellers, lawyers and market actors in the 3M Supply Chain as a relief which is ‘too little too late’, 3M finally admitted that there are quite a few 3M Respirator LOTs which have been duplicated and sold in the market over the year.The point is, that this does not help the genuine resellers who had the proper 3M Documentation and were looked aside by broker fuelled demand lines looking for ‘cheaper and cheaper’ masks which they could make a lot of profit margins out of.In the coming days, our firm will also publish a side by side comparison of all these fake and genuine mask lots as we encountered them during our legal due diligence work the entire year.Our replies and comments to this 3M Communication, duly shared by us by one our dear friends, Mr Warton C. who we met via another very enterprising PPE sales intermediary Fabio Micacchi. who works in the HK 3M masks market as an experienced trader, are in RED Font below. We have been fortunate enough to have been provided with many leads on fraudulent 3M PPE provided by these two gentlemen and are happy to thank them for this information.
Excerpts from the 3M Letter are in BLACK bold font.Our Replies are in Red Italics.
“Recently, we have been receiving increasing reports of fraud related to the following three 3M respirator models: 3MTM Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1860 and 1860S; and 3MTM AuraTM Health Care Particulate Respirator and Surgical Mask 1870+.“
These efforts have been a result of the hard-work of our teams and associates in the legal and business fraternity who want to make a decent living in the PPE sector.Many of the reports for some of these LOT numbers were reviewed and confirmed by our legal teams too and we have also assisted some brokers in starting their legal action for suining the counterfeiters for loss of business and goodwill.
The problem with the counterfeiting channels is that they are always headed by innocent agents or brokers who think they are promoting someone legit or a seller of genuine goods.
Legal steps and safeguards we have proposed so far for counterfeiting and non-delivery are as follows:
(1) Use of independent reporting services and not just to rely on old SGS reports.The Seller will happily allow third party inspection services wearing proper personal protective gear to enter their warehouses and check the masks.But please do not insist upon law members of the public the enter warehouses for ‘inspection’ which may result in further spread of infection.I am very very disturbed to see POL videos having unclean people with massive facial hair, no gloves and masks touching these medical masks.Only the counterfeiting parties can be so ignorant and ruthless to allow the masks to be stored in unclean warehouses and to allow untested members of the public to touch them.
(2) The Buyer should pay and instruct any reputable company for testing/inspection in the buyers jurisdiction before Escrow funds are released.Once Escrow is funded, the Seller must provide a venue and address for checking the masks.
(3) LOT Certificates must be checked via an email to 3M’s relevant office.The Majority of 3M 1860 Models come from 3M USA, 3M Singapore and 3M China.
(4) Please be very suspicious if your SGS report just says ‘mask’ or FFP2 and not 3M Mask, especially if the report is coming from SGS China.
(5) Please also be suspicious of any offer to buy 3M USA made masks out of USA.The last large LOTs left USA before the pandemic back in March/April or even sooner before Trump’s Ban on PPE exports. If anyone is trying to tell you they can sell you anywhere over a million or 2 million masks of these LOTs without an effort, you should be checking their paperwork thoroughly.At this point the largest and most reliable LOTS are coming from 3M Singapore.
(6) When in doubt always ask for a paid sample of say 1000 to 5000 masks for testing at your own Lab.If you want samples please don’t ask for 100 or 200 masks.Unless you make it worth the while of the seller, struggling with a nasty market, you are unlikely to gain their co-operation, at least this is what we have observed so far.
(7) Bank Performance Guarantees are important.Whether you fund an Escrow or Make an Advance Payment always ask for a fully paid, unconditional Bank Performance Guarantee which covers, non-delivery and sale of counterfeit goods.If you do not understand what a Bank Performance Guarantee is send us an email at email@example.com
Anyways let’s applaud the bravery and initiative of people who have started a campaign to identify fake respirator LOTs .Our work was very hard, as we had to often freeze and screenshot videos to check the fonts and nose pins on the masks being shown.Many of the tell-tale signs were less apparent until we checked the paperwork.Our work in tracking down visually the fake respirators especially those in POL videos where you see dirty, sweaty people with no PPE holding up 3M masks and touching them in warehouses clearly meant for non-medical goods storage.The other dead give away is the liberal use of 3M marked Red Tape, and well, the general poor workmanship and material on the masks, which can be caught with the naked eye often.
The other ‘star-sellers’ of such equipment spotted by our firm are people telling you they can give you a ‘box of your choice’ for the masks they have mass produced to ‘billions per week’ in factories in India and China and ironically when you question them on LOT certificates they will have always say that they have USA LOT certificate.How is this possible, one may ask? A LOT certificate is like a certificate of Origin.How can you have a 3M USA LOT certificate for trash you mass produced in a third party country factory.
The only sad thing is that these respirator LOTS are already in South Africa, India and Bangladesh and even some parts of Africa.Some people back in August started claiming, oh the price of 3M Respirators has dropped way below 2 USD. Unfortunately it has not dropped , and more sadly these counterfeit versions have been promoted by the US PPE companies as a sign of their source being ‘compliant’ with 3M’s factory pricing and anti-price gouging policy.
“These have included reports of fake/counterfeit product as well as fraudulent offers where product is offered but not delivered. We have been working with law enforcement and other appropriate authorities to eliminate this fraud but wanted to highlight this concerning trend. Over the past several weeks, 3M’s enforcement actions have resulted in the seizure of substantial quantities of counterfeit model 1860, 1860S, and 1870+ surgical respirators which had been sold or offered to government agencies in at least six different states”.
With regard to model 1860, 1860S, and 1870+ surgical respirators, we have identified counterfeit product bearing the following Lot Codes“
Lot Codes (in Searchable Text)
|Model 1860||B19029, B19206, B19240, B19130, B19133, B19155, B19161, B19206, B19314, B20010, B20013, B20016, B20018, B20020, B20021, B20022, B20025, B20060, B20119, B20245, R20025, R20102, R20144, R20150|
|Model 1860S||B20522, B20659, B20670, R20522|
“If you possess respirators bearing one of these Lot Codes, then please immediately assess the way in which you acquired those products. If you purchased them from a third party that is not a 3M authorized distributor, then there is a significant risk that they are counterfeit and should not be used.“
This statement sums up the protest, in its entire pith and substance, which I have set up all this year.When you fund the escrows of Mr. So and So with a year 2020 company registration and they are reluctant to give you LOT numbers, their contract copies with the 3M verified resellers/distributors and cannot show you a proper LOT certificate which you can check via 3M, you end up wasting time and money.Now many of these respirators have been caught by governments, and well there will be criminal liability involved.
Regarding LOTS number B20016, B20018 our team have proudly been a part of decent transactions for these LOTs which came to Asia back before April 2020, before the Trump Ban on PPE Exports.These masks look nothing like the 3rd Grade trash being peddled out in millions of counterfeited and duplicate boxes.We retain the counterfeited and photoshopped SGS reports for all of these as a part of our ongoing research too.
In light of these developments, please be aware of – and on guard against – the increased risk of fraud and counterfeit related to model 1860, 1860S, and 1870+ respirators, particularly in connection with transactions involving third parties that are not 3M authorized distributors. We strongly recommend that 3M respirators be purchased only through 3M authorized distributors, or through existing contracting vehicles (i.e., Federal Supply Schedules), as this will provide the greatest assurance of receiving authentic product. As part of our ongoing support for critical frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, our supply of model 1860 and 1870+ surgical respirators is currently intended for healthcare end-users.
Regarding R20144, well surprise surprise, we have signed off in small decent quantities this respirator LOTs for genuine mask models.We also received very good help from several friends we met who were seeking masks in Hong Kong, the badly duplicated and faked SGS reports and even LOT numbers and Bills of Lading for this LOT.When we told them that this LOT existed with genuine documents but not in billions and trillions they were surprised.
Our team has had the pleasure doing the A2A in many transactions for small 3M mask quantities which start with 50,000 or even 100,000 Units.We have made sure the buyers understand the meaning of 3M warranties, the meaning and legal implication of buying via a 3M verified reseller or distributor and of course, asking questions.
“If you are looking to purchase, or are considering offers to sell, model 1860, 1860S, or 1870+ surgical respirators or other 3M respiratory protection products from third parties, please contact our anti-fraud hotline at 1-800-426-8688 to verify if the offer is from a 3M authorized distributor.“
Most of the 3M Distributor’s Certificates can be verified online (For China) and well for the rest of the countries always, always verify from the 3M Fraud Hotline.
“We also strongly encourage you to contact our anti-fraud hotline if you have purchased one of these products from an unfamiliar third party and would like assistance authenticating the product you have received. You can also find more information on our website at 3M.com/covidfraud. Our anti-fraud team has thus far investigated more than 9,400 reports globally of suspected fraud, counterfeiting and price gouging. We look forward to working with you to assess the situation and help you reduce the risk of being defrauded.“
I still have to say that this step by 3M is ‘too little, too late’.I happen to know an unfortunate and legitimate reseller of 3M Masks whose deals were always undercut by mysterious brokers in USA offering masks for less than 2 USD. Knowing the appeal the brand has to medical buyers at all scales, they could have done better by starting to shut fake 3M mask mills in India and China, which have distorted the market for almost half the year.
We all know China has nine 3M mask plants, but how is it that masks being manufactured there can have 3M USA boxes and LOT numbers.Perhaps the people who availed these mask offers of ‘3M 1860 under 2 USD’ to fit their nie fat 1 dollar USD commissions in them, should have used their own common sense before depriving themselves and their governments of millions of USD worth of Tax-Payers money!