Intel seized my NIC... what to do?

Hi all,

As part of my home network upgrade project, I bought two Intel PRO/1000 adapters off eBay a few months ago. These were the old PCI models so they were relatively cheap compared to the latest and greatest versions. They were discontinued but the units I received were brand new in sealed retail packaging.

Recently, one of the adapters developed an intermittent connection on the RJ45 jack. i.e. when the cable wiggled, it would sometimes lose link. The problem was isolated to the adapter and not the cable.

I called Intel for an RMA for warranty service. After jumping through many hoops (including a disconnected FAX number on their RMA page, and outsourced representatives in Costa Rica who lose 75% of the incoming faxes), I was able to get a case number and an RMA number. I shipped the adapter back to their depot in Kentucky and waited.

Today I received an email from their support department:

We refer to your recent return of one network adapter with the following MAC

We regret to advise you that this product have been inspected and found not to have been manufactured authorized or sold by Intel Corporation. Due to this fact, we cannot provide product support, nor can we offer a refund or replacement for your defective product. We will be holding this unit pending an investigation and will either turn it over to law enforcement or destroy the product. Please use this letter to return to your place of purchase for replacement or refund.

In the future, we suggest that you make your purchases from sources dealing directly with authorized Intel distributors. You may obtain a list of authorized Intel distributors from the following web link or from the call center you requested the RMA from.

In other words they are claiming that somebody has bothered to counterfeit their board and reverse engineer the giant Intel 82540 chip just to clone cheap, old, obsolete NICs for desktop PCs. I don't buy it and I think they're lying to me. These boards worked perfectly with the genuine Intel drivers and they report a genuine Intel PCI ID of 8086:100e.

I talked to several Intel representatives, including calling the office of the president, and they were generally unsympathetic. It sounded to me like this is something they do to people on a regular basis when they don't want to honor legitimate warranty claims.

Has anybody else encountered this? What should I do? I don't even remember who I bought this from.
18 answers Last reply
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  1. I would not be surprised if they are fake.

    There is quite a massive black market industry for fake/stolen hardware.

    The Chips did not even need to be reverse engineered, but simply stolen from a truck or plant before assembly.

    Perhaps all you can do at this point is insist they return your broken NIC. Since they have likely already trashed it, you may be able to fight them on theft charges since they would likely need to replace it or provide factual evidence to backup their claim.
  2. Basically speaking, you're another Ebay victim. Intel is keeping the NIC while it pursues legal avenues against the company that is making them. They also don't want to give it back because you might sell it again and thus further tanish their product. Intel isn't lying to you, they are both protecting themselves and fighting the pirate that is making the cards.

    Yes, other people have encountered this type of thing, which basically reinforces the old idea of "Buyer beware". When electronics, etc appear on Ebay, its really a gamble whether they will be any good or not. The one thing you can do is try to file a complaint to Ebay, providing the e-mail you got from Intel as evidence. Maybe Ebay will help you, maybe not.
  3. That sucks man, live and learn. It is definitely buyer beware on ebay though.
  4. Reminds me of a funny store, I had a buddy who worked in IT for US Customs. While on a gig in NYC, he bought a "Rolex" for $20.

    Turns out some of the "Features" were not working, so he took it to a Jeweler and gave him $50 bucks to try and fix.

    Well no surprise to anybody but my buddy, it was a complete Fake, and the jeweler said sorry there was nothing he could do and would not expect the watch to even function much longer.

    So not only did he blow $20 on the fake watch he thought was real, he blew another $50 getting it fixed and he worked for Customs so he should be very aware of fake goods.
  5. Intel is stating it could also be stolen and not just a fake.
    sold by Intel Corporation
    This is most like the reply to both knock offs and stolen produces. Keep all information on your purchase as you may have police asking you questions soon enough. All copy of payment and the shipping number beings you don't remember the name.
  6. Interesting. I've noticed that seemingly legitimate sellers often put laptop parts and upgrades (Bluetooth modules, AC adapters, docking stations, batteries, etc.) up for sale on eBay at relatively low prices. My most recent purchase, a Bluetooth module, is sold on the manufacturer's website for $40 or $60 (same part, 2 different prices, depending on the laptop it's plugged into), whereas an eBay seller had it for $12 plus $8 shipping.

    I bought it, got it in 2 days and installed it in the laptop, and it works just fine. But I guess if it fails I won't RMA it.
  7. Quote:
    You couldn't be out that much money on a PCI NIC bought off eBay.

    The dollar amount is indeed small, but the idea of Intel stealing the part I sent them for service doesn't sit well with me. Furthermore, they have refused to provide any evidence that the item was not authentic.

    If I got them to send me something under false pretenses, and then kept it without paying, they would probably pursue legal action. What gives them the right to confiscate my property?
  8. Its also entirely possible that the card was stolen complete, and had the MAC altered for resale.

    Their evidence for the card not being authentic is that they have never produced or sold a card with that MAC address.

    Would you expect a DVD publisher to send back your pirate DVD if you sent it to them demanding they replaced it due to poor picture quality?
  9. darkstar782 said:
    Its also entirely possible that the card was stolen complete, and had the MAC altered for resale.

    Their evidence for the card not being authentic is that they have never produced or sold a card with that MAC address.

    How do I know their records are correct?

    You may have noticed that the "MAC address" on the letter had a lot more than 12 hex digits (and there were only 12 digits on the label). They also butchered the spelling of my name - badly. This does not inspire confidence in their record keeping abilities.

    Would you expect a DVD publisher to send back your pirate DVD if you sent it to them demanding they replaced it due to poor picture quality?

    I provided the MAC address before the RMA was issued; in fact, the RMA was held up an extra day because they couldn't enter a case until they got the MAC address. I would have expected them to check their database and reject the RMA before I sent in the unit if there was some reason they couldn't cover it under warranty.

    Isn't that a better way to handle things than to accept my claim and then confiscate my hardware?
  10. I purchased 2 of the Pro/1000MT cards. They are the newer models with the 64 bit pci bus etc. Got them from CDWG sealed with drivers etc. Intel gave me the exact same email and now im out $300 in NIC's
  11. Black market on faked cards is a big industry, lots of manufacturer's out there trying to cover/recover from issues caused by this stuff. Do a google search on Cisco fakes and your browsers gonna crap out - so many hits the 64bit OS cant count that high.

    Another trick (seen this in action, had to report the company) was to set up a mailing address overseas. Then purchase stock for that overseas address and mail it back to US for resale. A manufacturer trying to get into that market will discount products there, but not here - sell for profit.

    Example I had to call in was 3Com nics being sold in India for $18, when US price was $80. Guy was transhipping $15k worth of product a month.
  12. I don't know if you guys read popular science but recently there was an article in the magazine about this kinda stuff. Heres the link its long but good.
  13. DAVE_IT said:
    I purchased 2 of the Pro/1000MT cards. They are the newer models with the 64 bit pci bus etc. Got them from CDWG sealed with drivers etc. Intel gave me the exact same email and now im out $300 in NIC's

    I would contact CDWG and request replacement cards and let CDWG take the fight to Intel.
    If CDWG sold you counterfeit cards, they need to go to their supplier who needs to then go to Intel.

    Since they did not sell you what they advertised, they are legally responsible to meet the contract they made with you for Real Intel NICs.
  14. This is BS, i know Intel wants to protect their image, but the cards are his property. He owns it. if they dont want to replace or repair it, fine, but they have no right to keep it.
  15. I've had nothing but positive experiences with Intel NICs over the years and have never seen a problem remotely similar to the one the OP described... not saying it's definitely a fake, but I'm in that corner based on the information we've been given.
  16. Quote:
    Or you could just do what this guy did (This is a great read!):
    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    @OP: Intel realized that you had received stolen goods. They have every right to take them from you, short of B&E or armed robbery. So they said send us your card, you did and they kept it. Your aggravation should be directed at the scammer that sold you stolen goods, or yourself for falling victim. Buy it from a reputable retailer next time.

    You have to love Ebay.
  17. Ownership of materials
    Materials are copyrighted and are protected by worldwide copyright laws and treaty provisions. They may not be copied, reproduced, modified, published, uploaded, posted, transmitted, or distributed in any way, without Intel's prior written permission. Except as expressly provided herein, Intel and its suppliers do not grant any express or implied right to you under any patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secret information. Other rights may be granted to you by Intel in writing or incorporated elsewhere in the Materials.

    back to top
    Termination of this license
    Intel may terminate this license at any time if you are in breach of the terms of this Agreement. Upon termination, you will immediately destroy the Materials.

    Taken from the Intel website legal section. They are doing a favor to you by destroying them. If you ask nicely if they need any more information and suck up enough you may get some replacemet products out of the deal. Its happened with other companies.
  18. Problem there thought is that you can copyright the written or spoken word in pretty much any distribution format. You cant however copyright a toaster, television nor a network card

    You can however copyright the instruction manual and the drivers that come with it

    But not the card

    The term copyright stems from someone protecting their "rights" to their "copy" which initially pretty much just included books and scripts

    So that passage doesnt really apply here, and the term "materials" doesnt include the NIC itself
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