Electrical Safety Council warning on cuts to Trading Standards

21 December 2010

Supporting Trading Standards

Consumer safety charity the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) supports the Trading Standards Institute in its warning that government cuts will almost certainly lead to the door being opened to fraudsters and scammers to expand their business.

Director General of the ESC, Phil Buckle comments; “We are calling on local government to seriously consider the implications of cutting Trading Standards budgets. Trading Standards Officers do a vital job in identifying and seizing fake electrical goods and, if resources in this area are cut, it is likely that there will be more counterfeit and sub-standard electrical goods availableIn addition, Trading Standards’ action against rogue traders is essential in reducing the number of incompetent tradesmen doing potentially dangerous electrical work in UK homes. The proposed cuts are likely to lead to an increase in sub-standard work that doesn’t meet the UK standard for the safety of electrical installation work. ”

“With 44% of all accidental fires in UK homes arising from electrical goods [1], we are very concerned for the safety of anyone who has bought and is using any sort of counterfeit electrical goods. Counterfeit goods are nearly always of sub-standard quality - they can cause much more damage than just a mild electric shock. Fake or sub-standard electrical products can put you and your family at serious risk of fire, electric shock or even electrocution. Counterfeiters have no conscience about what they are doing, except for the illegal money they are making - they do not care about safety or quality. They are not concerned with basic safety features required by product standards.”

You may think you’ve picked up a bargain, but if an electrical appliance is a cheap copy, it is likely to be of poor quality, with the potential to harm you and your loved ones. If you think the product you’ve bought is dangerous to use, stop using it immediately and contact your local Trading Standards Office.”

The ESC warns that no electrical goods are safe from being counterfeited. This applies to electrical products such as switches, fuses, circuit-breakers, lighting and cable and consumer items such as kettles, irons, and chargers.

The ESC advises you to make sure that you have bought the genuine article by checking:

  • The packaging looks genuine. Does it contain instructions and a guarantee?
  • There isn’t any damage or loose fittings.
  • The item has a fused UK plug. Make sure that the plug is in good condition with the right size pins and is properly attached to the lead.
  • The product is working properly and does so  all of the time.
  • The product doesn’t overheat .

When getting electrical work done at home, the ESC recommends always checking that your chosen electrician is registered with a recognised body. 

To report counterfeit goods contact your local Trading Standards.

[1] Communities and Local Government, Fires Statistics Branch, Fire Statistics 2007

For more information please contact media@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk