The Arrow sanitary ware brand is known as a quality product. Photo:

When you buy something in China, make sure you check the product closely, and you may need a magnifying glass.

A man identified as Mr Zhang in Xian, Shaanxi province, had been happy to find his new home was fitted with two toilet bowls from the Arrow brand, one of China’s top sanitaryware makers headquartered in Foshan in Guangdong province.

However, when he took a closer look, the name on his toilets was “Arrovv,” according to a metro daily at Shaanxi. So Mr Zhang checked his contract, which stated he paid 65,688 yuan (US$9,789) for the household appliances.

Not only was his house completed late, the quality of the work was also sub-standard. In the contract, Mr Zhang was promised two toilets, either Arrow, Marco Polo or Mona Lisa brands, worth 980 yuan each.

With “Arrow” turning into “Arrovv,” Mr Zhang asked the contractor to fulfill his promise. The contractor said Mr Zhang would need to pay an extra 10,000 yuan. He also told Mr Zhang he gave him imitation goods because he could not buy the real brand for less than 1,000 yuan.

Obviously, the contractor was cheating his customer. According to Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, an Arrow toilet bowl is priced between $61 and $112.

The toilet incident highlighted how easily consumers are fooled by copycats, which are everywhere in China. From “Addiias” to “Owega,” instead of Adidas and Omega, Chinese consumers need to closely check what they buy because the copyright law in China does not protect brand names or consumers.

Sometimes people pay to buy what they think is Nike, but end up wearing Hike.

Former basketball star Michael Jordan has been involved in trademark lawsuits against Chinese brand Qiaodan Sports for more than one-and-a-half decades. In late 2016, he had little success in a legal battle against Qiaodan, but Nike’s Air Jordan brand was then counter-sued by the Chinese brand for allegedly infringing on its trademarks.

In China, consumers need to exercise caution when choosing their favorite brands and products.

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