What’s this all about? Ten years ago, one of our member companies lost 80% of its sales in a certain West African country within the space of two years. Although that brand was still the market leader, most of the products were being supplied by a Chinese counterfeiter. In those ten years, BEAMA has developed the biggest and best anti-counterfeiting operation in the electrical sector, with 18 brands working together. Although we have seized and destroyed over 5 million fake products and have operations in seven market countries as well as China, the problem of fake electrical products has not gone away and is now a serious threat to the UK.
Why should I care? Like so many others, you may have bought fake watches, handbags, designer clothes, DVDs and been mildly disappointed when after a few weeks the watch stopped, the handle fell off the bag or the dvd was blurred and jumped about a bit. Well what did you expect? You knew that the items were not genuine because of the low price you paid and the fact that you bought them in a bar or a boot sale or in the street, so why should you worry about fake electricals? Well, the answer is easy but very worrying, a fake circuit breaker like those shown elsewhere on this site may not operate when there is a fault and it could result in your house burning down. A dodgy RCD may not operate quickly enough and you may not survive to enjoy that well-deserved cool drink after a long afternoon mowing the lawn. A copycat plug with a well-known, but fake, certification mark on it may burn out and ruin your new carpet or you may be struck by tragedy, like the parents of the child who died last year when he was electrocuted by a fake computer game charger.
You may say: ‘But I am not using these goods only selling them and as far as I know they work OK’. Sorry, but this is not good enough! If you are in business as a supplier, distributor, retailer or installer, and fake goods get on to the market or into someone’s home through your lack of care about what you buy and from where, you are responsible. Wise up – don’t put your reputation on the line just to make a quick profit and don’t end up in court accused of killing your customers.
So what can I do to avoid trading in counterfeits? Follow the 3Ps, Person, Place and Price. If you are offered a product by a person you don’t know, in a place you don’t normally do business, at a price that seems too good to be true you should be concerned, very concerned. Contact the brand owner, speak to the certification body AND tell us by sending a message via the Counterfeit Report Tool
What is the industry doing? On 13th March the associations representing manufacturers, distributors and installers signed a Charter committing their members not to trade in counterfeit or otherwise non-complying products.