Counterfeit Electrical Products

April 19, 2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre you wondering if your online purchase is a counterfeit electrical product? As a residential electrical service company, Blue Crest Electric electricians are frequently asked to install customer supplied lighting fixtures in BC’s Lower Mainland homes and businesses. Our electricians are always happy to assist with this task, except when the fixture is lacking the required CSA, ULC or an equivalent accreditation mark.

Does an Accreditation Mark mean it’s not Counterfeit?

An accreditation mark, such as that from Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or other approved testing agency, means that the product has been tested by an independent third party and it has met the required industry standards for safety and performance. Every electrical product sold or installed in Canada must bear an approval mark. This mark represents the product manufacturer’s investment and commitment to specific safety standards.

Technical Safety BC has confirmed that a Canadian approved accreditation mark must be found directly on the fixture itself and not only on the packaging or accompanying paperwork. This specific requirement is also written into our Canadian Electrical Code, which means this is the law. The following link provides a list and examples of approval markings required within the Province of BC.

https://www.technicalsafetybc.ca/sites/default/files/alerts/B-E3%20071019%203.pdf

A fixture that is missing an approved certification mark is most likely a ‘knock-off’ or counterfeit product and should not be trusted to meet Canadian safety standards. Blue Crest Electric’s experience with this situation has been exclusively from consumer online purchases, or when consumers have personally imported fixtures into Canada from the USA or beyond. And, as if consumers don’t have enough to worry about when purchasing electrical products, apparently the ‘bad guys’ have also been attaching counterfeit labels and markings directly onto counterfeit electrical products.

How can the Consumer Avoid Counterfeit Products?

So, how do you know if you have purchased a counterfeit fixture? The fact is, you probably won’t know, but a skilled electrician might. In some cases your electrician may notice something unusual about the fixture itself, or the specified wiring method. The convenience of online shopping has provided the counterfeit industry with a lucrative opportunity and the warning of ‘buyer beware’ certainly applies. Buying electrical products locally from reputable retailers, whose professional reputation is at stake, is a big step in mitigating the risk. Hiring a Blue Crest electrician for the installation will also ensure a safe and Code compliant installation.

Canadian anti-counterfeiting agencies are actively working to stop the import of counterfeit products into Canada. The following link allows consumers to report suspected counterfeit products to assist in tracking down the source.

https://www.csagroup.org/services-industries/marks-labels/brand-protection/submit-an-incident-report/

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