The spread of counterfeit products is a world-wide problem, and one that isn’t easy to tackle. In 2014 alone, U.S. enforcement programs were able to seize fake products that were worth an estimated $1.2 billion, with the primary source of counterfeiting coming from China.
Counterfeit products are a serious concern for every business, and the electrical trade is no different. Fake electrical equipment and accessories can negatively impact the contractor’s reputation and put American lives at risk, making it critical for contractors to authenticate products in order to continue providing exceptional service to their customers.
Counterfeit Products Drain the Economy
The counterfeit products trade is a serious and costly issue. According to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the counterfeit trade now amounts to as much as $461 billion, putting a significant strain on the global economy. It doesn’t seem like any industry is safe, either. From the pharmaceutical industry to machine parts and chemicals, fake products are everywhere. In an economy that is still slow to grow, this is a frustrating problem for business owners everywhere.
Electrical products and machinery are one of the top industries affected by the counterfeit trade. It isn’t uncommon for fraudulent products to find their ways into homes and businesses. While eliminating counterfeit products in the electrical trade is difficult, it is important that everyone understands the risks that these products pose to both our safety and our economy.
A Liability for Contractors
Counterfeit electrical products are a serious liability, and can pose a danger to both people and their property. Just because an electrical contractor was unaware of a counterfeit doesn’t ensure that they won’t be liable in a court of law. Counterfeits pose two main problems for electrical contractors:
Serious safety hazard: Counterfeit fashion accessories are one thing, but counterfeit electrical products can put lives at risk. Counterfeit electrical products can be susceptible to fail, and cause injury or even death after installation.
Damaged reputation: A contractor’s reputation is everything, and contractors often rely on it to get them more customers. With a single installation of counterfeit electrical products, word can spread that your services aren’t reliable. Unfortunately, counterfeit products take advantage of the consumer’s trust in brand names to give a false sense of security.
Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Products
It isn’t easy to identify counterfeit products. Electrical contractors can reduce the chance of purchasing and installing counterfeits by following these tips:
Use a reputable electrical distribution supplier: Look at the reviews for electrical distribution suppliers and make sure that they do not have a history of selling counterfeits.
Closely examine the labels and packaging: Always look for certification marks on electrical products that signify their authenticity. Counterfeits will closely resemble brand name products, but there may be a subtle difference.
Be wary of good deals: If the electrical product has a price that seems too good to be true, it may be a counterfeit.
Check for spelling errors: Products that have grammar or spelling errors on the packaging may be counterfeits and should be scrutinized.
Help the Fight Against Counterfeit Products
The economic impact of counterfeit products is big and can be felt in every industry. With so much at stake, it is important that everyone does their part in preventing the spread of counterfeits. Here are a few ways to prevent the spread of counterfeit products:
Report suspected counterfeits: First, contact the brand owner to try to establish authenticity. If you suspect a product is a counterfeit, report it to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement by calling 1-866-347-2423.
Educate contractors: If you run a contracting business, all team members should understand the risk that counterfeit products pose to your business and make sure that they know what to do if they suspect a product is a counterfeit. It is also important to stay up to date on the latest reports regarding counterfeits and product recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a key source for this.
Be aware of your industry’s biggest concerns: In the electrical industry, circuit breakers must be carefully examined, because they can be a problem in terms of counterfeits.
Protect Your Contracting Business from Counterfeits
As the United States continues to try to seize counterfeits that flood the market each day, electrical contractors need to protect their own business from these potentially dangerous products. By doing so, customers will continue to put their trust in contractors and help stop the rampant spread of counterfeits.