3 Ways to Find Out if You’re Buying a Fake Workout Video

fake workout videos

Videos | Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

The fitness market is rife with scammers, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose your money to scammers who are hawking fake supplements and other health-related products. Fitness videos, or DVDs, are some of the more popular products among them. We’ve all seen these videos and DVD sets — from Richard Simmons in decades past, to the more popular workouts of today like Insanity or P90X.

They seem to work for a lot of people, too. As long as you actually stick to the plan, do your workouts, and get your diet in line. But a big issue, for many, is the cost. The Insanity package costs around $150, and P90X is roughly the same — for the base package only.

Naturally, this leads to people scouring the market for cheaper options. And those options are out there. The problem is that they’re often counterfeits, which can harm your devices, and leave you high and dry without a functioning product.

Counterfeit workout videos are actually a fairly big issue. Beachbody, the company behind many popular workout DVD sets, has been battling counterfeiters for a long time, and has even issued warnings to consumers about knock-offs. Apparently, the DVDs being pushed through alternate platforms like Amazon or Ebay can contain malware, and even lead to identity theft.

In 2014, a huge shipment of counterfeit Insanity DVDs were seized by police in Philadelphia, after having made their way to the U.S. from China. This is only one example, but authorities are also well-aware of how big of a problem this is, and also the potential threat it is to consumers. “If the price seems too good to be true, it likely is a counterfeit or pirated item, and is a potentially dangerous product,” said Philadelphia-area port director Susan Stranieri, according to a report from Philly.com.

You don’t want to waste your money, but you also want a good deal — so how can you look for one without falling into a trap? There are a few ways you can protect yourself, and it mostly comes down to being a vigilant, informed consumer. If you want to get your hands on some of the more popular fitness DVD sets, you should go through proper channels. But if you want to take your chances on the secondary market, here are some things to watch out for.

1. Who’s the seller?

shopping on ebay

Buying a workout video online | Matt Cardy/Getty Images

If you’re going to try your luck on sites like Ebay, you’re likely to come across many listings for the product you’re looking for. This is when you need to start being very cautious — look at user feedback for sellers, how long they’ve been selling, and where they are located. China is a hotbed for counterfeiters, and there’s a good chance that if the seller is located in China, or if the product is shipping from there, it’s a fake. Beachbody estimates those chances at 99.9%, in fact.

The same goes for sellers on Amazon and Craigslist. If you can’t verify that the seller is legitimate, don’t even risk it.

2. The price

man using credit card online

You can spot a fake workout video by looking at the price | Source: iStock

Price seem too good to be true? Then, as you know, it probably is. Just looking at the price of a product listed on Amazon or Ebay is an easy way to navigate the listings — counterfeiters are trying to offload their products, and fast. So they’re willing to mark it way, way down in order to do so. Gullible consumers will jump on a deal if they see it, only to end up with a worthless box of counterfeit DVDs.

There’s a lot more to shopping and being a vigilant consumer than just price-matching. You need to do some digging. Again, start with looking at the seller — and if the price they’re offering is raising a red flag in your head, then listen to your gut.

3. The packaging


Be wary of packaging on fake workout videos | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Let’s say you went for it and made a purchase on a secondary market. Your Insanity DVDs have arrived (hopefully not from China), and you’re ready to pop open that box and get to work. Here’s where you’ll want to take it slow. You’ve already invested your money into this product, and if you’ve felt comfortable enough to make the purchase without believing it to be a fake, then your last line of defense — other than actually popping a disc into your devices to see if they work — is to give the packaging a once-over.

There are reports of shoddy packaging being a tell-tale sign that a product is counterfeit. Bad tape jobs, photocopied inserts, and even labels rife with typos and spelling errors can tip you off. Of course, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably not going to be getting a refund anyway — but if you see some worrisome signs with the product’s packaging, you may have been scammed.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger

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