A new electrical safety campaign is under way targeting people who use small electrical beauty appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners and curling tongs. Items such as these have a thriving market where 'fake' versions of the genuine products are being sold as if they were genuine.
This goes far beyond using a brand name illegitimately as many people seem to think. The actual safety of the product is nearly always none-existent to the point where you are very likely to suffer from:
Fatal electric shock
Expensive home electrics damage
Sales of fake electrical products are of course illegal, however this doesn't stop unscrupulous traders from getting away with it and selling these products to eager members of the public many of whom have no idea what danger they are about to put themselves in. It can seem like the perfect deal to find a pair of GHD straighteners for half the price.
Where are fake electricals found?
It is surprisingly easy to fall victim to the fake electrical market. These products are not being shadily exchanged on street corners by people sporting hoodies and shades but rather on the open market. The on line market place is very much alive with the sale of fake products that people are unwittingly buying believing them to be nothing more than a fake copy.
It is not hard to spot fake electrical goods for sale in places like eBay and Amazon. The origin of these products are often countries such as China. The problem is, that if there is a problem, there is no come back or method of return meaning you will have to buy the product again. At best this means paying twice, at worst such products could cost you your life.
Think twice before taking up that deal that seems too good to be true.
What causes fake electrical products to be dangerous?
Unfortunately many people think that there is not a great deal wrong with using fake electrical goods and think that companies are just out to make money from them. In actual fact, fake electricals present a real risk to yourself and your home. Most have the potential to kill or cause serious and costly damage.
Fake electrical products can be initially hard to spot. At a glance they appear to be the same as a genuine product. It is only when you take a closer look that you realise all is not as it should be. Look at these ways to spot if an electrical item is fake:
Plastic casing that is poorly joined or switches where live wire can be seen around them.
Poor quality wire that is thinner than what you would expect or where bare wires can be seen around the ends near the plug or the item itself.
Lack of a CE mark on the product
Hot sockets after use or other unexplained overheating
Product supplied without appropriate packaging and/or clear instructions
If you have any electrical products like this in your home, stop using them immediately. Many fake electrical items when opened up have totally inadequate wiring and construction leaving the user exposed to electric shock, explosion and burns. Imagine if a hair-dryer exploded near your face whilst in use....
What to do if you think you have used a fake electrical product
Regardless of whether an electrical product is fake or genuine, if you have any concerns about it, then unplug it immediately and do not use. If possible, return to the retailer from where you purchased it. If this is not possible, contact your local trading standards office. It is important that you inform someone about the problem so that recall notices can be issued if relevant – this may save someone’s life.
It is also worth having your home electrical wiring checked out to ensure that the product has not caused any damage to the wiring inside your walls. Damage like this can go unnoticed for some time, but can lead to fire or costly repair work as the problem develops.
As an electrician in Nottingham, I carry out EICR work regularly for people concerned about their home electrics. An EICR is an in depth electrical safety inspection of the wiring in your home. Any problems like damage or dangers can be identified before they become major issues. It is also an opportunity to find out how your electrics can be made safer – or even just to check they are as safe as possible.
An EICR is recommended for home owners at least once every 10 years or if you are aware of a possible problem or damage. It is money well spent – they can can save you a small fortune for your peace of mind and essentially electrical safety in your home.