Beware of counterfeit electrical products

Every day, counterfeit electrical products are finding their way into our homes, businesses, and public institutions. These fraudulent products pose a serious financial and legal liability to the electrical industry, and they have become a grave safety crisis for our communities – a crisis that requires immediate action.
More than one million counterfeit electrical products, including extension cords, power strips, batteries, and hair dryers, have been recalled in recent years. Perhaps even more shocking, recent statistics from the Gallup Consulting and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimate that 64 percent of counterfeit electrical products in the United States are purchased from legitimate shops and retailers.
Counterfeit electrical products can be difficult to spot. They can be knock-off versions of brand name products or items that bear an unauthorized certification marking, and may have been made without key components or compliance to relevant safety standards in order to save money. While these shortcuts may offer cost savings, they pose great danger and aren’t worth risking someone’s safety.
To help raise awareness the Electrical Safety Foundation International is offering the following safety to help people everywhere protect against dangerous and defective counterfeit electrical products:
  • Look for the CSA, UL or ETL-SEMKO certification marks. If you have concerns about the marks, contact the certifier.
  • Beware of bargains that seem too good to be true. Products may be cheap because they are counterfeit or defective.
  • Use established vendors who purchase their goods from legitimate distributors and genuine manufacturers. Fly-by-night vendors may not be willing to grant refunds for electrical products that do not perform as they should.
  • Check the warning label. It should be free of grammatical errors and should not conflict with information found elsewhere on the package.
  • Look for the name and contact information of the manufacturer. If this information is missing, consider purchasing electrical products elsewhere.
  • Avoid no-name products that lack brand affiliation.
  • Be proactive. Organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) provide information about product recalls on their websites.
By working together to promote education and awareness, we can help to prevent the devastating injuries, fatalities, and fires that are being caused by counterfeit electrical products.

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International @

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