I recently decided to upgrade my cheap digital caliper. I decided to get a Mitutoyo. The reviews place these at or near the top. I went to Amazon and selected a model 500-197-30 for $148. What I received was a crappy Chinese knockoff.
I got suspicious as I examined it closely.
The outer packaging is different
The storage case is different
The directions instructed me to wipe off the excess storage oil before use - it was dry as a bone
The documentation (QA Certificate) is phony
The Serial Number matched, but was printed in a different font
It had the correct battery, but the battery compartment had a bent contact
The battery cover was different (no logo and only one catch)
There was no Set Origin function and the button did nothing, it just came on
The action was very rough and scratchy
The locking knob is bigger
The finish was a bit rough and the blades had the finish grinding at an angle
The jaws were very good - no gaps
The display in the inch mode only had 4 full sized digits with a 5th digit a subscript 5 that was either on or off
The Caliper worked fine (no idea how accurate, but it worked).
I contacted Tech Support at Mitutoyo and sent them pictures of my counterfeit. They confirmed my suspicions. The biggest tell was the display digits. Mitutoyo only has the full 5 digits - no subscript digits. I returned the phony copy. Amazon was VERY helpful once I mentioned counterfeit. Mitutoyo told me to only purchase from authorized dealers. There are several on Amazon, but it’s very hard to find them. You can’t even go by price as I found out. They said that what Amazon stocked and sold (not marketplace) was probably legit (I wouldn’t trust them though). These are the dealers that they recommended who are selling on Amazon -
I ended up paying $170 from Ideal Precision. They shipped very quickly and the caliper is genuine. The difference is night and day as far as fit and finish. I just want to share my Caveat Emptor experience as I know a lot of you use this tool and hopefully you can avoid my mistake.
The Mitutoyo 500-197-30 lists for $224
The phony caliper is readily available on Ebay for $25
Phony Mitutoyo -