As many of you have seen from various articles around the internet, there have been many fake LG HG2s appearing. Even some of the more reliable vendors have received these fakes in and sold as authentic. This is because LG shut down production temporarily and the high demand for these awesome batteries seemed to have caused some unscrupulous Chinese vendors to decide to make their own and sell them as legitimate.
Has Liion Wholesale sold any of these fake batteries?
We here at Liion have long prided ourselves on our extensive battery testing regimen for exactly this reason, ensuring all authentic batteries, including authentic LG HG2, are being sold. So, no, there have been no reports of any fake HG2's sold by us and we have no reason to believe any that we've sold have been bad.
What are the fake batteries?
To our knowledge there are two varieties of fake HG2's as of May 2016. One which we've seen is a rewrapped HE2 or similar. This is actually a pretty good battery based on our testing and as far as we can tell could be used in all the same applications as an HG2, just has a little bit less mAh than a real HG2.
The other version is more concerning. This is a low quality 8A or 10A battery. It does have the full mAh of an HG2, but it sags badly at high current so using in a high current device you will not see the full mAh. And it will get quite hot if used at higher amps. This is the one Mooch is focusing on.
Of course there could always be another fake variants but these are the ones that have been found thus far.
How do I know if I have received suspect HG2's?
There are many articles coming up on the internet as to how to tell the difference. I urge you to take these articles with a grain of salt (including Mooch), many of them are just posting their observations without knowing which of those observations means it's definitely fake. The only reliable indicator we have found here (other than testing of course) is the white insulator on the positive side of the battery. This white insulator should not be highly reflective. It is similar to the one found on many other LG batteries and Samsung batteries in that it is a matte finish with just a tiny bit of reflective quality to it. Looking at it by itself is difficult to tell the difference, you really need to side by side with a known good battery unless you are experienced in telling the difference. Hold them up to a bright light and turn them so the light is directly reflected and you can see a clear difference between good and fake in the brightness of the reflection.
The other way to tell, if it's the 8-10A bad battery, is just to see the bad performance. The difference is quite drastic. You can always try it at very low watts (like 20W) and just slowly up the watts to normal while feeling the battery to see if it gets hot, and making sure your device continues to have power.
What about the sticker on the battery?
The sticker on the battery has almost nothing to do with the source of the batteries. This sticker is added on by the shipping agent shipping from Asia to the USA, to meet shipping regulations. So while if you see a sticker that matches some of the fake ones, it is a very slight warning to check them closely, but it is by no means actual evidence that they are fake just based on the sticker. It is very likely that batteries with the same sticker were merely shipped by the same shipping agent or the sticker had a similar appearance (The information on the stickers is basic so a coincidence is likely).
Where can I go for more information?
Mooch, one of the internet's foremost battery experts, has been posting about this frequently and has asked us to send him some cells to test. We have sent them a pair from each major lot we've gotten, some of which have different stickers or no stickers at all. These were picked completely at random from our warehouse. His test results as expected show all batteries to be genuine, and can be found here: Mooch's LiionWholesale HG2 test results.
Is there another battery similar in performance to the HG2 if I don't want to worry about this?
We also carry the Samsung INR18650-30Q. This one, although it's rated at 15A, performs near identically to the HG2 and in many cases runs a little bit cooler. I think Samsung was just more conservative with its rating.
What do I do if I suspect my HG2's from Liion Wholesale?
Again I want to stress that we do a lot of testing and it is extremely unlikely to find bad ones in our stock. We have not seen any at this time. I assume that Mooch's test will show our batteries to be legitimate which will help as well.
As always you can return unused batteries for any reason if you just pay shipping. If there is an obvious problem with them (bad performance or you have other batteries to compare to and can clearly tell the insulator is bad as described above), then we will cover return shipping. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.