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Can you buy a genuine Lightning cable for cheap on eBay?

Posted by Iain Dawson on

20 out of 20 Lightning cables purchased as "genuine" on eBay were fake

We at Freestyll wanted to know how easy it was for someone to end up with a fake cable even though they have searched specifically for a genuine one; the answer it would appear is VERY easy.

We searched for “genuine Lightning cable” on ‘Buy It Now’ and set the sort by ‘Price + P&P: lowest first’. What we found was the first page (50 items) contains products listed up to only £2.99, pretty appealing considering Apple sell their standard 1m cable at £15.

We buy the actual genuine Lightning cables we distribute with our devices at more than £2.99 on a wholesale basis, so how people were able to sell genuine Lightning cables at such a low rate was beyond us; basically we smelled a rat. So, we bought one cable from each of the 20 lowest priced sellers to see what we got.

Some of the cables were instantly noticeable to be fakes, they had branding from a completely different company on them or no USB logo, others were a bit more subtle, but on comparison with the genuine article they were indeed ALL found to be fakes. Here’s our guide to spotting a fake.

We even took them to our local Apple store to see what they would make of these cables. They confirmed our suspicions... that all the cables we had received were fake.

Upon getting our confirmation we went on to make contact with all the sellers we bought from; most just refunded no questioned asked, these guys clearly know they’re selling fakes and just want to sweep it under the carpet, but we got some more entertaining responses too. Here’s the picks:

Fake Lightning cables for genuine iPhones, not genuine Lightning cables for fake iPhones 1 fakelightningcable6   This one tickled us. We messaged again explaining Apple have advised it's not a genuine cable for an iPhone either, they didn’t reply… or refund.

Fake and then fake again

Quite a few suppliers blamed their “warehouse” or claimed the “fault comes from our supplier end” or you’ve received a “defective item”; general excuses. What we didn’t expect is for two of these suppliers to offer to send a replacement only for the replacement to also be a fake. You’d think they’d make the effort to send a genuine one if you’ve already called them out on it, who knows maybe they think they’re actually selling the genuine article. Upon recontact one of these sellers issued exactly the same message as they issued the first time we pulled them up on it.

Not a genuine Apple cable, just genuinely a cable fakelightningcable3 fakelightningcable4 fakelightningcable8 fakelightningcable7 Yep genuine SyncLead and SONICA cables came in, not genuine Lightning cables though. The SONICA guy offered 20 and 50% refund before refunding the full amount, he was eager to keep as much of that £2.10 as possible.

Please return for a refund

This one happened a couple of times. The stock answer below resulted in a refund in each case:

It turns out I purchased a bunch of fake Lightning cables listed as genuine at the same time. Can you confirm how much shorter than a genuine Apple Lightning cable it is and I'll be able to look it out for you.”

More genuine than genuine   fakelightningcable2 This was another return request, but one that was 10 times more genuine the an actual genuine Apple product. The below response resulted in a refund:

“Sorry, it's now in the bin with a whole bunch of fake cables. Is it one of the short ones, one of the ones with the shabby USB port or one with different branding on it. We've had it checked by Apple, it's one million percent fake! Please refund.”

The defensive one fakelightningcable5 … who refunded immediately after sending this spiel.

In short, if you want to buy a genuine Apple Lightning cable, then on eBay it's a minefield. It should be noted many of the 20 sellers we tested were Top Rated sellers, eBay have been invited to comment- we'll update this page if/when they do. If you are looking to purchase a genuine Lightning cable for a reasonable price we recommend checking out Digital Save.

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