It is pretty clear by now that the Kenyan market is crippling with over 40% of all products sold being regarded as counterfeit. Shockingly, half of all these goods are taken up by fake mobile phones that continue to circulate countrywide despite various efforts to curb the illegal trade. And as much as we can go ahead to blame the traders, consumers have also had a huge part to play in this. A recent report came out stating that 75% of Kenyan consumers actually buy these gadgets with about 50% acquiring them knowingly simply because they are cheap.
You, however, cannot help but feel sympathy for the remaining half who always end up victim to the malicious tricks from the traders. Well, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has now stepped up to its consumer protection mandate. A new Mobile Messaging Service has now been set up by the Authority to help Kenyans ascertain whether mobile phones they own or wish to purchase are legitimate.
All one has to do to use the service is:
- Dial *06# on the mobile phone to receive its International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) number.
- Note down the IMEI number separately.
- Send the number as a short message to shortcode 1555. You should note that the service will not incur any charges across all networks.
- An SMS response will be sent back from the Authority issuing the mobile phone’s details including the brand and model.
If the details shown in the SMS are exactly the same as those of the mobile phone, then it is genuine. On the other hand, a message displaying details that contradict those of the phone in question clearly suggests that it is counterfeit. The best solution would now be to contact the CA with a detailed report.