Nikon USA has confirmed that some authorised retailers, including B&H, have been selling counterfeit EN-EL15b rechargeable Li-ion batteries.
Petapixel leaked an e-mail from B&H to Nikon battery customers on May 22, admitting to distributing a ‘subpar batch’ and replacing all batteries for free.
It has come to our attention that we, unfortunately, received a subpar batch of Nikon EN-EL15b rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Since it is impossible for us to ascertain which of our customers received from the affected batch, we will be replacing all of these batteries sent to our customers regardless of which battery they might have received.
With regard to the battery you have received, please discontinue use and take the battery to the nearest recycling program. As a resource to help you find a location near you, you can try looking at https://www.call2recycle.org/. The batteries should not be thrown in the general trash. B&H will be sending you a confirmed new optional battery free of charge within the next day or two. You will be receiving an e-mail copy of this no-charge order and a separate e-mail when it is shipped out to you. Please do not attempt to ship the battery back to us as it is potentially dangerous to do so.
But B&H didn’t elaborate on the ‘subpar batch’, which Nikon USA now says came ‘outside the distribution supply chain.’
‘We have been made aware that some customers who purchased individual EN-EL15b batteries from authorized Nikon retailers received defective product. These batteries are not genuine and were not manufactured or distributed by Nikon USA.’
According to NikonRumors, Adorama has also replaced a batch of counterfeit Nikon batteries.
It’s unclear how many customers purchased fake batteries, which were presented as a genuine Nikon products.
In the DPReview forums, one user published a follow-up e-mail purportedly sent by B&H confirming the company bought the batteries from a third-party distributor.
‘Occasionally, we purchase batteries from a distributor to meet demand. We determined that a small order of batteries purchased from a distributor were not genuine Nikon batteries. We only sell genuine batteries. Since the batteries we shipped to you were not genuine, they could be defective and therefore could cause your camera to not work properly. As always, we fully stand behind everything we sell. Once we learned of this issue, we immediately communicated to you and replaced the item.’
Could it have been a grey market import? Only B&H knows!
Affected Nikon users are reporting the fake batteries eventually result in a ‘battery low/shutter error’ despite a full charge.
Additionally, counterfeit batteries might not be manufactured to meet safety standards or guidelines, making them prone to overheat or explode, potentially destroying gear and creating a fire hazard.
Nikon has an online guide to determine the authenticity of certain batteries, which highlights subtle differences in typeface, logos, and numbers. It may be worth checking for anyone using batteries from grey market vendors.