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Counterfeit Christmas Lights Pose Safety Hazard for Consumers

Electrical Contractor magazine Initiative Finds Decorations among Counterfeit Electrical Products

BETHESDA, Md., Nov 13, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Counterfeit Christmas lights -- including those with fake Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) labels -- pose a threat to consumers for their potential inability to meet electrical safety and fire codes. The traditional holiday decorations are part of the rapidly growing crime of counterfeit electrical products in the United States -- 90+ percent of which are imported from China. Now reaching epic proportions in a $130 billion industry, counterfeiting is a crime that threatens the lives and safety of all U.S. citizens and electrical workers.

"Underwriters Laboratories Inc., like many other Intellectual Property Rights and Trademark owners, has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of counterfeited products and trademark labels on those products in the past, several years," said Robert Crane, lead enforcement manager, Anti-Counterfeiting Operations, UL, Chapel Hill, N.C. "For several decades, UL has integrated security features in many of its labels."

Crane participated in a panel discussion as part of the new Anti-Counterfeit Products Initiative hosted by Electrical Contractor magazine, published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md. at http://www.ecmag.com, and The Electrical Distributor (TED) magazine published by the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), St. Louis. The new, joint industry initiative is endorsed by NAED, NECA and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

A few warning signals for counterfeit lighting include surprisingly low prices, unusual labeling or certification marks and a lack of sales tax on a receipt since counterfeiters generally don't report their sales. Consumers should also be aware of street vendors and unauthorized dealers.

Crane said that holographic labels were developed to further thwart the piracy of UL labels, with the first holograms introduced in 1993 for decorative lighting strings and outfits. Since the holograms were so successful, he said that additional categories for products manufactured in China also required holographic labels and more requirements were added this year including the newest gold holograms.

Published by the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, Md., Electrical Contractor magazine delivers 85,300+ electrical contractors and more than 68,000 electrical contracting locations, more than any other industry publication. Telephone: (301) 657-3110. Web site: http://www.ecmag.com.

SOURCE: Electrical Contractor Magazine

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