This should come as some consolation to consumers who paid for a high-performance computer but ended up with a refurbished or counterfeit product. Anti-corruption watchdog, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), has drawn up an eight-point checklist to identify fraudulent practices to help guard against spurious, refurbished or duplicate parts.
Government departments have also been similarly short-changed despite in-house technology experts. The CVC has been campaigning for leveraging technology in the government for more than a year. “Counterfeiting is designed to cheat naïve computer users/organisations,” said the circular by CVC chief technical examiner, V Ramachandran, anxious to ensure the CVC plan to use IT does not crash as a result of low-quality hard-disks, monitors or processors.
“This amounts to the organisation not getting what they actually ordered and paid for. Supplies of such PC in the long run would defeat the very purpose of going in for a new system,” Ramachandran said.
As a back-up plan, the commission has also asked departments to not only insist on factory-sealed boxes, but also get a written undertaking from companies certifying all components used in the PC are original and new. Often, entry-level processors get re-marked or over-clocked and sold as high-end processors. For instance, a slower Celeron processor could be re-marked as Pentium 4 though the real clock speed may be lower. The CVC recommended a freely available software called CPU-Z, which is available on the Internet, to ascertain the real parameters.
Similarly, factory-repaired hard disk drives – used in warranty replacements – are used in new machines. The commission asked buyers to look out for coloured borders on the hard disks, often marked by manufacturers to distinguish refurbished products. It has listed signs to
distinguish refurbished monitors packed in new covers, spurious keyboards and counterfeit consumables like printer cartridges.