How do I know if an electrical product I bought online is fake?

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It can be very difficult to spot a fake electrical product when you're shopping online

Answered by Sarah, Electrical Safety Expert

It can be very difficult to spot a fake electrical product when you're shopping online. The photos that you see may not be of the product that you receive. If you are shopping online, use the retailers that you know and trust and be very careful when you're shopping via a marketplace. These allow third party sellers to list products with little or no regulation. If you do think you have bought a fake product, stop using it immediately and contact the retailer. If they will not help you, contact Trading Standards.

There are a few obvious things that you can look out for: If the price is (almost) right, it could be a fake.

Some fakes are for sale just below the recommended retail value, hoodwinking shoppers that are too savvy to fall for the ‘too good to be true’ deals. Make sure you do your homework if you decide to buy products below high street retail prices.

Don’t just take the seller’s word for it – or the reviewer's!

Beware of a product with solely glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified. Some sites cross-reference user reviews with their buyer database and label those people as "verified purchasers".

Know where you’re buying from.

Make sure you know where the supplier is based, a ‘co.uk’ URL doesn’t guarantee the website is UK based. If there is no address supplied, or there is just a PO Box, be wary; many fake electrical goods are manufactured overseas, where they may not be safety tested and are produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity.

If the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.

Spot the lock to pay safely.

Look for websites that allow you to pay safely – these have a padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details. If you can’t see it, do not enter your payment details.

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