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Are the copiers stupid?


some on here may remember when the copiers over in china first started trying to make flow frames, everyone was up in arms over it, I purposely ordered two and when they arrived simple complained to ebay about being sold counterfeit goods
ebay immediately refunding my money and told me not to return the items,

the company kept mailing me asking me to return the item, so I complained and eventually they stopped, and today I receive this email, looks like they want me to be friends

Hi, stephen, my friend,

How are you!

It’s our honor that you purchased our flow hive house and frame IN PAST TIME, now, SHOWING the latest upgraded item.

The advantages compared with old item,

1> Bees more like the new flow frame color.
2> The flow frame cross provent hurting bees.
3> Flow frame iron wire upgrade 304 steel wire, more solid and durable.

So cost more? No, the most competitive quality and cost for you.

Attached Eco-Friendly Material certification for reference.

Please read below comparision picture.

Mobile :86-188-2387-8824
Tel: 86-755-85297566
E-mail: mialong2016@163.com
Website: http://www.hitianli.com/ http://www.ebay.com/itm/311611666616
Office Add: 2 Floor,E Block, Jinxiongda Science Park, Huanguannan Road, Longhua New District, Shenzhen , P.R.China (518000)



Wow ! They’re fearless n brassen with there boldness. China really cares less about copy rights. $$ is their game for sure … They’ll just change names, addresses n so on while our legal systems get filled @ its snail Pace movements. Our markets, stores n nation is full of there cheap, crappie, look a like junk ! They have no standards other than cheating n faking every step … It’s so sad n upsetting !



Just the other day this article about an Australian company enforcing their copyright and winning!


Doing just what you did, if we all did it, would be the best way to show the chinese that sometimes they too can strike out. I thought of your idea earlier but was concerned that may not get the backing from ebay - but that does not seem like the issue anymore. May be tempted to have a go at purchasing theirs now as long as I can be assured that a 100% refund comes my way.

At least the entire Flow Team can feel somewhat pleased with themselves, as when your product is being copied by the chinese, you’ve made it in the business world.


you shouldn’t do what I did unless you can afford to loose the money, theirs nothing guaranteed in this world…apart from death and taxes


Thanks for the post, I’ll pass on all this info to the legal team :scream:
p.s. di you let ebay know about them again?


not much point complaining to ebay as the seller just sells again under a different name, that was the whole point of me buying them, ebay have to listen to buyers complaining of buying counterfeit goods hence I was pretty sure I’d be refunded


It’s only a matter of time and the copied product will improve to the point that it is indistinguishable from the original. I have seen it occur with multiple automotive products. The first iteration/producton runs are terrible… then sites pop up pointing out how to spot the fake/counterfeit products (as a service to the consumer). This information is then used for the next iteration of production and the cycle continues until the fakes are so good that the consumer can’t tell the difference.

If you need an example, look at Toyota and its battle against counterfeit service parts.


I doubt they could make a product better by reading comments, more likely they simply purchase an original flow frame and work from that, as a business the flow team are not going to vet each and every customer to see why they placed an order,


Of course they use the original product to build initial tooling, but after sending out the early batches of copies they can easily determine how people are spotting the fakes (by the posts/videos etc that criticise the fakes) and they then improve the fakes to not contain the identified defects in their next production run.

An example with an automotive part was how the instruction manual was folded and put into the box. This became the method to identify the fakes and was well publicised, until the next batch had the instruction manual folded to match the original/genuine product. The information then worked against the consumer as they checked that the instruction manual was folded correctly and assumed the product was genuine.


personally I doubt this in the case of the flow frames- at least in terms of actual quality- not just appearance- I believe the copiers will always cut corners in the quality dept. and you will never have any kind of assurance as far as the materials being used goes. In terms of fake designer watches coming out of China- they quickly produce watches that ‘look’ identical- but one look inside the watch and it is obvious it is a fake- the mechanisms are very low quality.

The current flow fakes on ebay claim ‘food grade’ plastic but how could you ever trust them? You probably can’t even find where they are made let alone what they made of. Also I have just looked on ebay and the copiers have got a 2.0 ‘flowfake’ version out- and it is notably different than the genuine flow frames- they have created their own unique design for the extraction tubes and cap. It is very different than the flow ones. So far from refining the degree of fakery- it has become easier to spot the differences.


@Faroe I strongly suggest FLOW look into the ebay VERO program if you haven’t already. Please forward this to your legal dpt. Intellectual property rights are only as good as your ability to proactively defend them. It’s a game of ‘whack a mole’.



My point isn’t about them being of equivalent standard (eg. using food grade plastic), my point is that the copies get so good people stop questioning them. I wouldn’t use a counterfeit product, but they will leak into the market. Luckily at the moment you can only get direct from Flow so you know the product is genuine. When the secondary market starts up at clubs and eBay with people selling their product second hand… this is where people are likely to get stung with fakes.

Unfortunately in the flow frame’s instance the tooling and manufacturing cost would be lower (using the same materials) based on its design and re-use of the same moulded element to make up the frame, this is very different to the complexity in a watch so they will likely be targeted.

I only speak from my experience with automotive parts… the fakes just got better and better. I hope for Flow’s sake they aren’t targeted as persistently.


there’s an old saying here in the UK and maybe it’s common worldwide, a fool is easily parted with his/her money
people that do not want to pay top notch prices will buy these, thinking they will work ok for them, they will know they are knock off copies but they will think it’ll work ok, trouble is when it fails and they then say flow frames are crap.

the fakes may get better and better looking, but I’m afraid their use of the english language does not, and if you cannot distinguish between the two types of advert then more fool you

also when looking at the pictures, if you are not going to look close enough, again more fool you (I’m talking about buyers here)

my first thoughts were why that big bit of bur comb on the side, if this was in a proper hive that would not happen, so it must of been placed in another type of container purely to make bees build on it, but then look closer to the area I marked, open cells on a close frame, in my review this was pointed out, that even after closing, some cells remained open, and the only way to tell is to remove the frame before closing and check, sort of defeats the object of the frame altogether, so if this imitation is now a mark 2 or mark 6, they have still not corrected that problem, proving in my mind that they DO NOT check out our reviews and remarks, otherwise why is it still happening ?


You obviously know better than me, so I’ll leave this thread alone. My intention was to share experiences in other fields, which have suffered from counterfeits… to warn others, but you seem convinced that this product is immune.

The language issue will be quickly overcome when someone in an English speaking country catches on and assists them with their production.

As I have said, the copies will get so good that people won’t know they are buying fakes. ie. It’s not about people actively buying a fake because they want to save money, they will be buying what they believe to be the genuine product.

I am happy to revisit this thread in 12 to 18 months and see what the copies look like then.

Why is it still happening? Because iteration cycles are slower than typing a forum post. They will be dumping stock from their first production run. When they built their tooling they obviously produced a lot and want to recover costs off people stupid enough to buy them.

As for the open cells in the photo, the genuine Flow frames had a similar problem with several frames shipped with one of the elements installed in reverse.

We aren’t talking about two guys in a shed pumping these out, the Chinese manufacturing industry is a huge beast. You are using a product sample size of one from a manufacturer sample size of one to build your argument.

My suggestion would be to always buy direct from Flow and if buying second hand insist on a receipt/invoice from the seller’s original purchase from Flow.


Hi Sam, I need to order 2 more bonnet clips for my '83 L/cruiser, I’m pretty sure I know where they’ll be manufactured.


I don’t know any better about copyright, but I do think I know about the people that buy fake, I own some woodland and rather than spend hundreds on a named chainsaw, I bought a chinese copy, fully aware that it was a copy but only costing a quarter of the real mccoy, funnily enough I went on to but a decent one and then run them side by side to do a yearly review on them both, that was 4yrs ago, 18 months ago the decent one gave up the ghost and the import is still going strong.

if it ever gets to the point of the adverts being written in perfect english, buyers should still be aware that flow only sells flow products and therefore know that ebay sellers are fake,


How do you find the fake product working. Is it any different to the original? Funny thing is that the fake is not that much cheaper than the original. Am interested in getting one to compare.


An update: