5 Tips to Spot a Counterfeit Product:
1. Be aware of the problem and know that counterfeits are difficult to identify.
- Counterfeits are prevalent in the industry and can often be very difficult to identify, even by experience professionals. Nearly half of electrical inspectors have found counterfeits during inspection. Counterfeits have been increasing in recent years and cost the electrical industry an estimated $250 billion each year just in the United States.
2. Inspect the product
- Compare the product and logo for consistency with others you have purchased. Differences in color, size, texture, or weight may indicate that the item is counterfeit. Look for whether relevant markings and information are included on the product label, such as serial number, date code, manufacturer's name and contact information, etc. Check for misspellings, grammatical errors, crooked labels, or incorrect logos and certification stamps. Be wary of indications of poor workmanship and quality control of the product, as well as log quality or damaged packaging.
3. Verify authenticity
- Make sure the product is labeled with any relevant UL, CSA, or CE certification marks. Check certification markings for inconsistencies, such as no control number or using the wrong UL label.
4. Trust your instincts
- Be cautious of companies that don't stand behind their products- such as those that don't offer or have only very short return and warranty periods. Know the fair market value of the materials you are purchasing. Compare prices of similar products and avoid any that are significantly cheaper than the average. If the price seems "too good to be true," it probably is.
5. Buy only from trusted sources
- Avoid the gray market. Buy only from authorized distributors you trust. Check manufacturers' website to find authorized retailers and distributors. Avoid purchasing unknown brands, from suspicious manufacturers, or from unauthorized suppliers.
The best way to avoid counterfeit electrical products is to only buy from reputable, authorized distributors. No bargain is worth the potential liability to your company or the safety risks to your company or the safety risks to you, your team, or your customers.