Saw this full page ad in EC the other day, some electrician is behind bars because he bought counterfiet electrical parts
Followed by a stern warning from one of our overbearing electrical manufacturers to be good doobies, and be aware that buying counterfiet is illegal
Next i get these e-mails, insisting i attend some education seminar to decipher what is potentially good parts made in China from bad parts made in China>
Just what does "genuine" get you? How do you detect the real deal from the fake? How do you protect yourself and your customers? Don't forget to join ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and GE Energy, Industrial Solutions, on Tuesday, November 30, at 11 a.m. EST, for a free webinar to discuss the latest information relating to potentially dangerous counterfeit electrical products.
The webinar will include how to detect and ensure genuine products through UL testing: warranties and quality assurances; examples of material differences (side-by-side comparisons); specific cases of counterfeit installations; common sources of counterfeit/gray market product; and more.
If you have not already registered please click on this link to register. Registration is FREE.
Funny you sould voice some of my own reservations ...
I'll start from the premise that 'countrefeits are bad.' OK, wonderful - but where do we go from there?
Well, yuo can learn a lot from the boys at Square D. First to fire up the 'anti-counterfeit' bandwagon, it's easy to overlook how such an effort neatly ties in with their overall business plan: to sell products that can only use parts made by them AND sold through their network. Just like the plumbing companies, they have gone to great lengths to prevent (or impede) the use of other folks' stuff in their panels.
Hence the entire 'classified breaker' fiasco, where Square D did it's absolute best to misrepresent UL's position and misuse the NEC. Pure marketing camoflaged as a concern for our safety.
Their PR machine has made sure that we hear about their legal actions against counterfeit vendors. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the efforts are focused on those who sell Square D without Square D's blessing. Since Square D has 'protected' dealers and territories, these actions also enforce the company's business plans.
Looking closer at the press releases, all we see are assertions that the parts were counterfeit. When pictures are provided, they show 'today's counterfeit' as something that looks just like 'last years' model.' You and I sure can't tell the difference.
IMO. This simply isn't enough. I'd like them to also say something like 'We had UL test these, and their performance wasn't up to par.' Ever notice that they never tell us that the counterfeits don't work - they only ask you 'how can you be sure?'
For all I know, these 'counterfeits' are coming right off the same production lines as the 'real' ones, but are simply being marketed outside "official" channels.
Even if they are shoddy imitations .... one doesn't bang them together in their garage. One needs an expensive factory filled with custom equipment. We're talking serious investment.
Nor can we overlook the political component. In contrast to the US, most countries are extremely involved in regulating their export industries. It's simply not possible to churn out all these counterfeits without the approval of their governemnts- and the implied protection of their armies.
If you want to stop counterfeits, then the answer is in the political arena. The ads you see might get your attention, but are completely ineffective.
Reno: I have read a lot on the counterfeit subject, most of which was mfg documents, and some from UL.
It can be an issue, but how can the electricians, and inspectors determine ti differences, as items that I have seen with my eyes are very, very good fakes?
We, as a country import enormus quantities of merchandise and INHO that is where this 'fake' stuff has to be stopped.
Being a state with a very busy container port (Newark/Eliz/NY) I seem to realize that 'checking' everything is inpractical, and probably next to impossible.
Occasionally, we read about a 'big' bust at the port, be it 'knokk-off' clothing, shoes, purses, etc., and I seem to only remember two (2) publicized 'busts' of electrical related items. One was extension cords, the other...SQ D QO CBs!
The mfgs invest substantial $$$ in investigating fakes, for a lot of reasons. It's an ongoing situation for them to protect there brands, be it Sq D, or Nike, Coach, Pravda, etc.
Recently, in excess of $50k in knockoff clothing, purses, shoes was seized at a local flea market.
End game, buying from an reliable electrical distributor, or the 'big box'. Some questionable items that I have seen are 'internet' buys. I'm not saying ALL bargains are issues, but some thought should be applied to the 'bargain' prices.
I often wonder how many of these counterfeits are coming off the same line as the real deal, just off the books, hence SqD etc is not getting their royalty. Of course there are probably a lot of things like AFCIs that are actually the cheaper GFCI with an AFCI stamp on them. I am not sure how you would tell without breaking them open and comparing numbers on chips. The test button would still trip them and a tester *might* work or might not, same as a real AFCI. They would still nuisance trip on some circuits. How would you know
We've outsourced so much manufacturing in America that the Chinese bond raters have taken steps to knock the dollar off as global fiat benchmark
And all we get is crap manufactured there via $0.10 an hr labor
So in my mind, not only has corporatism stolen our jobs, now they have the unmitaigated gall to BLAME the end user here
Why should any red blooded American tradesman out there operating with reputable supply sources (i.e.- registered businesses, be it bricks or clicks) need to worry about being imprisoned for recieveing goods from them?
Maybe the best and safest solution would be to avoid using any GE or SQD products at all. Cutler Hammer makes classified replacement cb’s for both the GE and SQD QO breakers. I actually like Cutler Hammer and Siemens bolt on breakers and commercial panels better than SQD anyway. I could easily go back to using the regular CH breakers and panels for resi and not loose any sleep over not having that little red/orange trip indicator.
Let's keep in mind that it was never intended for the code writers and listing agencies to do all our thinking for us.
Counterfeiting aside, I've seen all manner of listed kludge that I wouldn't use for balloon ballast. I've also seen otherwise sane folks get their hackles up when they see a rock-solid 'custom' enclosure, or lose sleep when they have to fabricate a replacement part for an older installation.
If someone can counterfeit a breaker, making a fake UL sticker is a piece of cake. Heck, I have an entire roll of REAL lables that turned up at a flea market. Need I say more?
and in a trade of a bizillion widgets, all i say i need is an invoice from a reputable supplier
i gotta enough to do keeping my doors open, keeping everything on the up & up
i'll not be liable for recieving counterfiet goods from any of them
further if EC mag is so worried about it, let's see some investigative journalism on the manufacturers that crossed the line like i'm reading from posters in the know here, instead of some blue brother behind bars