Counterfeit electrical goods are shocking

  • 18 July 2007

Concerned about the increasing prevalence and danger of counterfeit electrical goods on the US market, ICC's Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB) is reminding consumers to purchase only certified products from authorized retailers.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently raised awareness of this issue by deeming the month of May National Electrical Safety Month.

Max Vetter of the CIB stated: “CIB supports CPSC’s desire to protect consumers from the hazards presented by counterfeit electrical products. Fake electrical products can result in electrocutions, fires, and explosions that may cause serious harm to individuals and their property. CIB stands behind any effort to reduce the likelihood of these occurrences.”

A broad range of bogus electrical products are widely available throughout the United States, according to the CPSC. These include frequently purchased items such as circuit breakers, power bars, extension cords and batteries.

To help protect US consumers, CPSC has recalled more than 1 million counterfeit electrical products in recent years, such as circuit breakers that did not trip when overloaded, extension cords with wiring that overheated and mobile phone batteries without the device to stop them overcharging.

As with most instances of counterfeiting, fake electrical products are largely unsafe due to poor manufacturing and the omission of key components. In an effort to minimize production costs and boost illegal gains, essential items such as copper wiring are often neglected or included in sub-standard quantities.

“Counterfeit electrical products are not subject to regulated testing and elude relevant safety standards. Consequently, what appears to be a bargain may in fact be a potentially lethal electrical hazard,” Mr Vetter noted.

A spokeswoman from the CPSC said: “We are very concerned about unsafe electrical products, our priority is to keep consumers safe by preventing potentially dangerous counterfeit products from getting into the marketplace in the first place.”

A large majority of the counterfeit goods flowing to the United States and elsewhere originate in China. CPSC is working with the Chinese government and US Customs and Border Protection to prevent unsafe products from being exported into the US and to identify counterfeit products already in the market place.