US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Counterfeit Airpods Worth Almost $4,000 Seized by CBP

Release Date: 
June 18, 2020

CHICAGO– Owning a cell phone is pricey enough, and adding peripherals like chargers, cables, and mounts can break the bank. Most consumers who pay for these extras expect a quality product, but what consumers may not realize is there is a profitable market in selling counterfeit items under the guise of a trademarked name.airpods

At the DHL Express Consignment Carrier Facility, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment from China containing 25 counterfeit “Apple” airpods on June 1. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for these airpods, if they were authentic, was $3,975.

The parcel was manifested as “Lithium Ion Batteries”. CBP officers inspected the package for information related to admissibility of it contents in accordance with agency procedures. It was during this inspection officers noticed the quality of the packaging and marking on the items were not consistent with the quality of a legitimate product. Their suspicion was confirmed, and the items were turned over for destruction, per port policy.

“Counterfeit goods, like these, damage our economy,” said Shane Campbell, Area Port Director, Chicago.  “When criminals sell these items, it deprives legitimate businesses from thriving.  Unfortunately, many citizens do not realize the harmful effects that counterfeit products have on American businesses and jobs.  American businesses and industries lose billions in revenues annually due to counterfeits and the public is put at risk with unsafe counterfeits which may not meet safety standards.  Our CBP officers are proudly protecting American businesses, jobs and consumers.”  

CBP protects businesses and consumers every day through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement program. Importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

On a typical day in 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. Learn more about what CBP did during "A Typical Day" in 2019.

CBP officers and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents seized 27,599 shipments containing counterfeit goods in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, down from 33,810 seizures in FY 2018. However, the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, increased to over $1.5 billion from nearly $1.4 billion in FY 2018.

E-Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value packages imported into the United States. In FY 2019, there were 144 million express shipments and 463 million international mail shipments. Over 90 percent of all intellectual property seizures occur in the international mail and express environments.

The People’s Republic of China (mainland China and Hong Kong) remained the primary source economy for seized counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 83 percent of all IPR seizures and 92 percent of the estimated MSRP value of all IPR seizures.

Read CBP’s Intellectual Property Seizure Report for Fiscal Year 2019 for more IPR stats and analysis.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations.  Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
June 18, 2020