Conventional wisdom holds that counterfeit parts do not enter the supply chain through Authorized Distribution. Electronic part distribution experts claim such events are so improbable, the user community need not apply counterfeit avoidance practices when acquiring parts through authorized channels. Many of these experts have acknowledged, however, that the handling of product returns presents a possible point of vulnerability.
This essay discusses a counterfeit part escape through authorized distribution illustrating a vulnerability associated with processing products returned by customers. Authorized Distribution professionals have referred to this incident as a rarity and, therefore, neither a call for concern by the user community, nor worthy of the attention it has received. I offer some further thoughts to consider before dismissing this escape.