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While the wireless carriers would prefer you buy your phones from their stores, whether digital or physical, sometimes that's just not the best way for an individual to do it. Whatever the reason may be, picking up a new phone may mean buying a phone from something like eBay, or any other website out there that specializes in providing access to used, but (hopefully) still functioning handsets.

Of course, they don't always have to be used. How many times have we seen a phone go on sale immediately after it's released, and because it's a seemingly popular device, the price gets ratcheted up to match that ravenous demand? More often, though, you're likely to see an unopened or "never used" smartphone up for sale. Trying to find a good deal on these sites isn't impossible, but there's always the possibility of something going wrong. Pictures can be doctored, or just be flat-out fabrications of the truth.

So maybe you think you're getting an unopened iPhone, but what you get instead is a knock-off.

Maybe you thought you'd be getting a relatively new, unused Galaxy Note 3, and instead you find yourself with an "Android Note." Which, despite the naming similarity, really isn't the same thing at all.

Counterfeit devices exist, and for many companies that make popular devices it's a real issue all over the globe. For consumers that fall for the trap, though, it's just as awful. Not only are you left with a device that's generally far, far worse than the device you thought you were getting, but then you have to figure out a way to get rid of it, too. And, even trying to rid yourself of a poor clone at a steep discount can prove difficult, if not outright impossible.

I've been duped by a guy selling a counterfeit Galaxy Note II in the past. I purchased it through some online site, he had plenty of pictures of a real Galaxy Note II and all the specs listed. But when I got it in the mail, it was a plastic that was even worse than the plastic used by Samsung, and that was just the beginning. While a part of me wants to say that the effort that goes into creating these devices is probably pretty huge, a bigger part of me wants to see all of these devices wiped from the face of the planet -- because they're terrible.

I've heard plenty of horror stories about counterfeit devices, and I've experienced it myself, so I know how maddening it can be. Yet, it's something that's not going anywhere anytime soon. Not when companies out there can actually make a profit from these handsets.

Have you ever been duped by a counterfeit device, or know anyone who has? Let me know!


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