Fake Brake Pads Made Of Kitty Litter? Knockoffs Can Be Dangerous

Consumer Reports warns us that knockoffs aren’t just found on the streets of NYC, where peddlers push fake Gucci and Prada bags to giggling tourists. There are now “brake pads made of kitty litter, sawdust, and dried grass; power strips, extension cords, and smoke alarms with phony Underwriters Laboratories (UL) marks; medical test kits that give faulty readings; toothpaste made with a chemical found in antifreeze; and cell-phone batteries that could explode. Online drugstores claiming to operate from Canada but actually based in other countries have peddled “Lipitor” and “Celebrex” pills stored under uncontrolled conditions and containing the wrong active ingredients.”

Watch what you’re buying on eBay and at the “dollar store!”

Real or fake? [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. remusrm says:


  2. mgyqmb says:

    When brake pads cost a maximum of, like, $20…how can anyone justify buying a knockoff?

  3. Die_Fledermaus says:

    @mgyqmb: easy. the mechanics who repair you car. Some extra profit for them.

  4. Buran says:

    $17.50 per pad for a VW GTI at parts4vws.com (Mintex Redbox pads).

    The pads aren’t the ripoff. The shop charges are.

  5. kingedwin says:

    @Die_Fledermaus: easy. The idiot who buys the cheapest pad at the worst parts store around because it’s much cheaper than a real brake job at a repair shop.

    Good brake pads cost a lot more than $20: at least $40 for a high quality pad like Wagners for a small car, on up to $150+ for 1 ton pickups.

  6. z4ce says:

    Toothpaste with a chemical found in antifreeze? *gasp* I hope its not Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO).

  7. badgeman46 says:

    @z4ce: DHMO! Its gotten so bad its everywhere! Do you know that they figured out a way to store it in solid form in a household freezer?

  8. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Does that mean the “Durasell” batteries I just bought at J&R in New York City aren’t authentic?

    • Sharikitten says:

      @stanfrombrooklyn: I was at a local Dollar store a few months ago and found a package of “Sharpie” looking markers, complete with the name on them in the same script, but when read carefully they said “Skarpie”. It’s become a household joke around here. LOL.

  9. scampy says:

    If people werent so cheap and always going to places like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Ollies bargain outlet, Wal Mart etc.. They wouldnt get this crap. I you believe in the old adage “you get what you pay for” like I do then you spend good money and get good product. Shop at places like Khols, Bed Bath and Beyond, Wegmans, and Strawbridge and Clothiers and youll get good stuff. Also for cars if you take them the dealer you bought it from you wont get brake pads made from kitty litter. You buy brake pads online for $10 you can expect crap

  10. trollkiller says:

    @scampy: I believe in the old adage “poor folks got poor ways”. Not everyone can afford BB&B for towels. Family Dollar, Wal~Mart, Dollar General etc. have their place. Or would you rather poor folks go without until they can afford the “nice” places?

  11. scampy says:


    Often times people who are NOT poor shop at those places because they are cheap and in the long run its actually cheaper to buy good stuff because when you buy a cheap towel from dollar general you replace it about 20 times before you would have to replace a good one from BB&B. Good stuff lasts much longer

  12. @scampy: I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I’m pretty sure that the people who are poor and shop at those places are in the minority. You shouldn’t make a blanket statement like your first one, and then come back and say that it applies to a group of people that no one is likely to associate with the likes of Walmart, etc. It just sounds like you’re trying to appeal to the commenters around here so you don’t get lambasted.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    But my brakes purred like a kitten just before I hit that semi!

    On a related note, local police in NH arrested 32 people for selling 20000 different counterfeit items at a local flea market.

  14. @thnkwhatyouthnk: Haha.. and I shouldn’t press the submit button without proofreading. I’m pretty sure that the people who are not poor and shop at those places are in the minority.

  15. ZekeSulastin says:

    Somehow, I *HIGHLY* doubt Walmart sells brake pads made of kitty litter or toothpaste with diethylene glycol. Indeed, I doubt any national chain would sell products like that.

    Then again, it IS cool to slam national cost-cutting chains at every corner here, this time in favor of relatively expensive department stores … gotta love the Consumerist, one part useful info, one part anti-company litany …

  16. rabiddachshund says:

    @z4ce: Holy crap, I haven’t heard that one since 6th grade. Thanks for the nostalgia :D

  17. scampy says:

    Actually the toothpaste with diethylene glycol WAS sold at dollar stores around the country. It was made in China and the stores sold it not knowing what was in it so they say. [consumerist.com]

  18. nuton2wheels says:

    @Die_Fledermaus: Any mechanic with half a brain wouldn’t knowingly skimp on something that could potentially result in the injury or death of a customer, since it’d also cost them a serious lawsuit and their reputation. Most shops purchase parts from reputable suppliers (not street vendors) and verify adherence to factory specifications prior to returning the keys. Ease up.

  19. Rusted says:

    @Buran: Well, it is important to be able to stop when need be. I’d rather pay the money.

  20. catullus13 says:

    My wife was hooked for a while on fake designer handbags: bogus Coach, Vuitton, Chanel, etc. knock-offs that she could pick up for about $30 apiece at this major flea market in the Poconos. The dealers would have humongous piles of these things, surrounded by hordes of zombie-like women getting their fake fix. Of course my wife knew that they were totally counterfeit, and she became an expert on the myriad details that distinguished a real bag from a fake one. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and sprang for a genuine Coach bag for her for Christmas. That was the “intervention” that saved my sanity, since it broke her bogus bag addiction.

  21. Beerad says:

    Yeah, imagine my surprise when that Rolox I bought from some guy on Canal Street turned out to be filled with baby scorpions!

  22. emona says:

    That anti-freeze toothpaste must be delicious. Sure beats HFCS

  23. Rukasu says:

    I loved hearing about knockoff Pepsi while I was in China that was just watered down soy sauce, man someone was in for a surprise when they took a big swig of that. There were some fake Colgate toothpastes made in S Africa that were going around the dollar stores in my town, didnt have fluoride in them I believe.

  24. SpdRacer says:

    @mgyqmb: Have you actually ever bought brake pads? I doubt it, cause even the cheap pads and shoes cost more than 20$. And if you did find them for 20$ Would you really want them on your vehicle? Doubt that too. When it comes to auto parts you generally get what you pay for, which is why if lives depend on it you don’t go cheap.

  25. scarletvirtue says:

    Some knock-offs can be frightening – e.g., the brake pads made of kitty litter, the toothpaste with antifreeze, etc.

    Some, I admit to liking/buying – the knock-off purses. As long as the Prada label on my fake bag doesn’t say “Prado”, “Proda” or “Pravda”, it’s fine by me.

  26. Dilbitz says:

    I buy my brakes pads at Autozone and put them on myself. Cost me $16 and guaranteed forever. If I need to replace them, I bring them in and get new ones for nothing. It pays if you know what you’re doing.

  27. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Buran: Thats why I learned how to change them myself. I can afford to get the really good ones because I am saving on the labor.

    If you want to talk excessive shop charges look at motorcycles/atv’s. I bought my first new bike in June. The manual and the shop advise a 600 mile service. I went in to get it figuring an oil change and checking the fluids. They wanted almost $300!!! Labor for a motorcycle mechanic is about 80-125 and hour. I took it back home bought the service manual and did it all myself. It cost me about 45$ on parts and supplies. And about 2 hours to do it all myself, but I know it was done right and now I love my bike even more cause I did everything myself.

  28. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: It’s great you can do it yourself! I can’t do even the basic maintenance on my car because the community association or whatever it is called has rules against it. You can service the car as long as no one can see you from the street and no fluids are spilled over the sidewalk.

    I’ve been called on many times by my neighbor while doing the oil change or the bi-yearly tune-up i do on my car. Even when I’m doing it in the small court in the back garden.