I saw several people mentioning fake certificates recently in the context of Chinese manufacturing. While I know there are many fake product certificates, I don’t think there are many fake ISO 9001 certifications, or those for ISO 14001, or IATF 16949 for that matter.
My point of view is simple. There are many registrars, and many “consultants” that “guarantee a pass” and that know which registrars are very lax. It means factories simply pay and get the certification. It is not much more difficult than faking it.
The advantage of a “real but undeserved” certificate is that a real registrar’s name can be shown. And potential customers can even call the registrar and ask if that company is certified.
Does it mean that you can visit a factory and then call the registrar to check the certificates’ validity? It is not that simple for two reasons:
- The official company name is in Chinese. And I guess many local registrars won’t have an English speaker respond to your inquiry.
- In China, a factory boss often has several companies and tracking who is who is complicated. The business environment here is opaque.
Rather than checking if a certificate is genuine, I would encourage buyers to check if it is deserved. I listed some points that can easily be checked here. And many companies, including mine (Sofeast), make a living of checking just that. It is not expensive.
Do you agree?
Update Feb. 2022: watch this video for advice: 10 tips to identify counterfeit certificates
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