Safety: Christmas alert over fake electrical goods

In the build up to Christmas, a serious and specific threat to domestic safety has been identified – an escalating tide of counterfeit electrical goods.

2010 figures showed that more than £30m worth of counterfeit electrical goods enter the UK on an annual basis, with just 10 per cent of those being manufactured outside of China.

These counterfeit goods can include Christmas gifts such as electronic toys and gadgets, mobile phones & chargers, batteries and other similar consumables; even counterfeit Residual Currency Devices (RCDs) have been seized, serving as a warning to severity of the threat to domestic safety.

The general public aren’t the only ones put at risk, with both retailers and contractors also having to apply due diligence to any purchases they make. Everyone should buy from established, reputable and reliable sources and always check for a legitimate Kitemark insignia.

Richard Gould, director of inspection services for the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers, said: “Counterfeit electricals pose an all too real threat nowadays, as electrical malfunctions in sub-standard equipment can lead to tragic house fires.

“Safety testing saves the lives of millions of end-users every day and without it, electrical products such as cameras, iPods and other similar devices, as well as the chargers and batteries which power them, amount to nothing more than ticking time-bombs found throughout the domestic sector.”

To ensure the highest levels of safety for you and your family:

l Always inspect pricing, packaging, certification labels and country of origin

l Buy suitable, safety standard-compliant products from reputable sources

l Keep Christmas cards and decorations away from heat sources

l Always test or even replace old Christmas lights with newer, safer ones

l Avoid trailing wiring where it can be tripped over or overheat