Zero Tolerance for Counterfeits


Over the past decade, U.S. seizures of counterfeit products have increased by more than 325%. Consumer electronics, with a value of nearly $40 million, were the top commodity seized in 2011. Counterfeit products can unknowingly be used in manufacturing, military, critical infrastructure, and consumer product applications. They not only endanger the economic health of our nation, but more importantly, put the safety of our families, communities, and employees at risk.

Eliminating counterfeit electrical products from the electrical supply chain will require a collaborative effort that leverages new data to educate and advance awareness among the public and industry stakeholders. ESFI is poised to face this problem head-on and is working with stakeholders from across the electrical industry for its newest anti-counterfeiting campaign.

5 Tips to Avoid Counterfeits

  1. Only purchase from trusted sources.
  2. Check electrical manufacturers’ websites to find authorized retailers and dealers.
  3. Only purchase items that have been tested and marked.
  4. Only use licensed, insured, and bonded contractors that will stand behind their work.
  5. Products and packaging with typos and misspellings have a high likelihood of being counterfeit.

How to Avoid Counterfeit Electrical Goods

Using qualified electricians and purchasing from reputable distributors and retailers gives you: safety, security, and the backing of the Manufacturer.

Anti-Counterfeiting Videos

Whether you need a replacement or just want an extra phone charger, sometimes it’s tempting to purchase an off-priced option rather than the expensive charger provided by the manufacturer. However, purchasing a bargain charger could have disastrous consequences not just for your phone, but for your safety. With this short video, ESFI and UL are reminding consumers to beware of counterfeit chargers:

While they may save you money in the short term, you could end up paying a serious price for bargain extension cords. ESFI is reminding consumers to beware of counterfeit electrical products, including extension cords:

Be sure to check out our library of resources to help identify and avoid dangerous counterfeit electrical products.

Not all Imposters are Easy to Spot

2014 Counterfeit Electrical Products Survey

In an effort to develop a baseline understanding of the observations, attitudes, and perceptions of those who manufacture, distribute, install, and inspect electrical products, ESFI recently surveyed members of several organizations that are active in the electrical industry about counterfeit electrical products. The survey was conducted using an online questionnaire, and each organization distributed the invitations and subsequent follow-ups to its members.

ESFI thanks the following organizations for their participation in the survey: International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), Independent Electrical Contractors Association (IEC), National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

2014 Counterfeit Electrical Products Infographic

ESFI surveyed over 900 electrical inspectors, contractors, distributors, and manufacturers to learn about the counterfeiting issue in the electrical industry.

Counterfeits by the Numbers

Counterfeit or Legit? 10 Tips to Help You Buy the Real Deal

They say every man has his price and when it comes to counterfeit electrical products, that is essentially true. Purchasing counterfeits may save a buck, but it puts your safety and potentially the safety of your loved ones and your home at risk. Counterfeit electronics are uniquely unforgiving and have been reported to start fires, explode, shock users, and inflict burns. Today’s counterfeits are more sophisticated than ever before, making them difficult to spot. Use these helpful tips to help avoid the purchase of counterfeit electrical products and ensure you get a real deal.

Blueprint for a Quality Contractor

As a homebuyer or renovating homeowner, you have many questions to ask and decisions to make. Floor plans and paint color are certainly important, but there is one issue that should be given serious consideration: your electrical products. Counterfeiting has increased over 10,000% in the past two decades and they are uniquely dangerous. Counterfeit electrical products have been known to ignite, explode and pose a shocking hazard. Finding a competent contractor is your best defense against counterfeit products. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has developed this “Blueprint of a Quality Contractor” to help you pick the right person for the job to ensure your home is a lasting source of comfort and safety.