Friday 23rd November is Black Friday which means one thing, Christmas shopping galore! Also a cheeky present for yourself possibly? Though if like myself you want to get a good deal but also want to avoid the Black Friday madness in the shops, online shopping is the best way to go. However, what if an electrical item you order online turns out to be counterfeit, faulty, or even possibly deadly?
Research conducted by Electrical Safety First found that nearly 1/3 of people in the UK have become victim to counterfeit scams when doing online shopping, that’s around 18 million people! Furthermore, they also found that 1 in 7 Brits have experienced loss or serious damage from an electrical item which they purchased online.
What should you look out for when buying electrical items online?
We fully support these tips and advice provided by Electrical Safety First:
- If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is! Fake items are likely to be sold at a cheaper price than the high street value.
- Don’t always believe seller and buyer reviews! Some reviews could be fake, especially if the reviewer isn’t verified.
- Be aware of where a supplier is based. Fake products produced overseas are likely to not have undergone safety tests. We always suggest buying from recommended retailers.
- If a seller states their item is ‘real’ or ‘genuine’ there is a good chance it isn’t either of those things. A reputable retailer does not need to sell their products like this.
- Always look out for the padlock symbol when filling in your payment details online. It would be wise not to make payments on websites without this symbol. We also recommend PayPal as a safer way to pay as they provide buyer protection on purchases.
What are the tell tale signs of a fake item?
- A legit electrical item will always have a safety certification on its label. Ensure the item you purchased has the certification on both the packaging AND the product itself.
- If you purchased the item in the UK, double check that the electrical item comes with the three-pin UK plug and charger.
- Is the packaging of a good quality? Check the packaging material is of a good standard and there is no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
- A legitimate electrical item should come with all the parts, a manual, or a product registration card.
On arrival of the item it is important to thoroughly inspect both the packaging and the electrical item itself. Taking all the above into consideration, it should be fairly easy to spot a counterfeit product. If you’re still not sure, do not initially use the item and spot check it against the same item bought off the high street.
So it turns out you have bought a fake item, now what?
If you are unfortunate enough to have bought a fake item then we recommend you carry out the following steps:
- Contact the supplier immediately who you bought the item from
- You will have a legal right to a refund. However as mentioned above, it is always recommended that you pay via PayPal or Credit Card for that added protection. If the seller refuses to give you a refund, then go above them and contact the company in which they are selling through e.g. eBay or Amazon.
- Leave accurate feedback to help alert future shoppers.
- Report your faulty item to Trading Standards so that they can take action against the seller.
If you have any stories about counterfeit electrical items we would love to hear from you! Or if a faulty item causes you any electrical problems in London & Hertfordshire then please do contact us HERE.