The risk of buying counterfeit electrical products

Sometimes we buy something not because of the quality but for the price, but what happens if your bargain purchase turns out to be deadly? 

About a quarter of people in the UK have been victims of counterfeit products when shopping online, and around 5% of us have first hand experience of an electric shock or electrical fire caused by an electrical appliance purchased on line. 

Despite this, around 30% of us still admit to buying fake electrical goods to save money. 

Counterfeit goods are often substandard which present a serious risk of fire or electric shock. 

Orange fire burning on a black background to suggest electrical fire

This video from You Tube, linked from the BS1363 website (link not working so removed) is an excellent example to show what happens when a UK plug fitted with a counterfeit BS1363 fuse is subject to a short circuit.

Because the counterfeit fuse has no filling to suppress the arc it just explodes, as there’s nothing else it can do, blowing the plug from its socket.

This video was not produced by us and is being shown only as an example to help share the dangers of using counterfeit electrical products. 

We recommend only buying from a retailer that you trust, either direct from the manufacturer’s website or a trusted high street shop – the products they sell will meet the correct safety standards but if something does go wrong, you have a right to get them to address it, or you can return the product for repair or a refund. 

When you’re browsing online, it isn’t always obvious that you are not buying directly from the manufacturer. To make it easier for you Electrical Safety First have created a Chrome Extension