Fires in commercial and residential premises are a common sight around South Africa. Research information and statistics show that a tenth of all fires in South Africa are electrical related. Research info further shows that most of these fires are caused by faulty and counterfeit electrical outlets and products. Part of the solution in this regard lies in being able to identify and avoid counterfeit electrical products. Here is how you can identify counterfeit electrical products.
Look for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo on the label, indicating the product has undergone proper testing. If the product is legitimate, you should see the name and contact information for the manufacturer on the label. If you see any grammatical errors or typos on the logo, brand name and trademarks, that’s a sign the product is not professionally made.
Check the components’ pins
It is important to make sure the pins of electrical products are an appropriate distance from each other. If the item is authentic, exposed metal will also be clean and free of oxidation.
Check components thickness and edge
Some counterfeit electronic components are thinner than genuine ones due to the sanding used to eliminate original surface and codes. If looking at a forged part, you might also notice edges aren’t even, that the product is thinner in some regions than in others or that the surface is exceptionally shiny and polished-looking.
If the item is shabbily packed, doesn’t fit properly in the box, uses substandard material like cheap plastic or sagging cardboard, take it as a sign of counterfeiting. Similarly, if you get a product without any packaging at all, know that is is likely to be a fake.
Counterfeit products often don’t include supplementary materials such as owner’s manual or product registration card. Sometimes counterfeiters do not include all the parts that should come with the product, or some parts will be from a different manufacturer.
Counterfeit electrical products are a real danger to personal safety, businesses and the economy. Applying the guidelines above is one step towards minimising this trend. For complaints to do with counterfeit electrical products, you can contact the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).