FM Alert: Beware Counterfeit Electrical Products

The counterfeiting of well-known brands and products is increasing, costing an estimated $1.77 trillion worldwide in 2015. Counterfeit electrical products are particularly worrisome, because they can cause life-threatening disasters and result in lost productivity for customers and legitimate manufacturers.

Using counterfeit electrical products in any facility can result in a higher risk for failure or malfunction, but some environments are more vulnerable than others. As part of its ongoing commitment to combating this problem, Eaton has identified applications where authentic electrical devices are most vital. With the infographic below, Eaton hopes to help professionals in mission-critical and hazardous environments understand and avoid the potential performance, safety and financial risks of counterfeit electrical products.

counterfeit electrical products

If you’re concerned that electrical products in your facility may be counterfeit, the following checklist can help you detect the presence of suspect products and provides resources to both authenticate products and report counterfeits.

  1. Examine your products: When purchasing an electronic product, check for certification marks from organizations that certify the quality and performance of electrical products. Be leery of additional markings or labeling not applied by the original manufacturers with missing or poor-quality labels, out-of-date product codes, and non-genuine packaging. As counterfeiters become more sophisticated, counterfeit products become even more difficult to detect this way, creating an increasing need for additional scrutiny.
  2. Buy authentic: When buying new equipment for your facility, the best way to avoid purchasing a counterfeit product is to buy directly from the manufacturer or an authorized distributor. There is a higher risk of counterfeits if one cannot trace the path of commerce to the original manufacturer.
  3. Avoid “bargains”: Avoid bargains that seem too good to be true. Prices that are substantially lower than the manufacturer’s price should make any buyer suspicious of the product quality. Saving a few dollars is not worth exposure to the safety risks that accompany faulty products.
  4. Evaluate the condition of your products: It’s important to evaluate the condition of any new product and its packaging immediately upon delivery. Any product that appears to have been tampered with, is missing information, or is noticeably poorly made should raise a red flag. Professionals should also keep an eye out for out-of-date product codes and labels of poor quality.
  5. Report your counterfeits: If you have questions about the authenticity of your product, reach out to the manufacturer with your concerns. This will allow for authentication of the suspect product and ensure that the potentially unsafe product is removed from the market place.