Counterfeit Electrical Goods

Happy new year to all our readers!  Christmas is over for another year and all the houses that were decked in Christmas lights are returning to normal and I breathe a sigh of relief that we didn’t see any of them going up in smoke!

It’s probably a symptom of being married to an electrician, but every time I saw a house covered in lights I just couldn’t help wondering where everything was plugged in to and how safe it all was.

In October, I wrote about the safe use of extension leads & adaptors and also asked what a Residual Current Device (RCD) is and I’d just like to reiterate the importance of not overloading sockets with too many adaptors and plugs and of avoiding linking extension leads together. I also talked about buying electrical accessories and devices from a reputable supplier and ensuring they conform to British Standards.

It’s sale time at the moment and there are lots of bargains to be had if you buy products on-line.  However, please be aware that you could be purchasing counterfeit products that are substandard and dangerous. Whilst you might save a few pounds you’ll almost certainly put your safety at risk, if not your life.

When you think of counterfeit goods you probably imagine DVDs, or luxury items, like Rolex watches and designer clothes & accessories. Electrical goods – extension leads, RCDs, switches, etc. – are probably the last things that spring to mind. Unfortunately, counterfeiters have realised there is a massive market to be exploited and are happy to turn out huge volumes of substandard products in order to make enormous profits.

It’s something the British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association (BEAMA) and Voltimum, the UK Electrical Industry Portal, have recognised as a serious issue. They work closely with Trading Standards and campaign tirelessly to raise awareness of the problem.

An article on their Counterfeit Kills blog site states that since 2000, BEAMA’s Electric Dragon Campaign has “…resulted in over 12 million counterfeit products being seized and destroyed [including] plugs, sockets and switches, circuit protection equipment (eg circuit breakers), fuses and safety critical devices like RCDs.

Many of these items were destined for the UK market, and the potential consequences of their use just don’t bear thinking about.

It’s not a cheery subject, I know. But it’s something I think people should be aware of, so I make no apologies.

I wish you a very safe and prosperous new year.