We all love a great deal. Unfortunately, counterfeiters take advantage of our eagerness to find one. They sell items that appear to resemble a large brand name or will offer their product at a significantly lower cost than competing brands. Because the low price seems too good to pass up, we sometimes fall victim to these scams. Counterfeit products can cause a variety of different problems due to the cheaper material and shortcuts used in their production. This can result in a dangerous situation especially for electrical products since they have not been tested for safety.
Problems with Counterfeit Power Cords
Counterfeit power cords can often be found at a price that is much lower than you would expect to find anywhere else. One of the classic signs of a counterfeit power cord is the lack of copper needed to conduct electricity properly. This could result in a possible fire if the cord becomes too hot. Counterfeiters also might attempt to trick consumers by putting a fake safety label on the cord. Some of these fake labels can look very authentic, such as the power supply cord in the picture.
What to Look For
Always check for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label on power cords to see if the product has been tested and is marked safe for use. Depending on the product, the overall label might have different watermarks for authenticity purposes. A spelling error is a common sign that the label is a counterfeit, but sometimes it takes a professional to spot the fake.
If the product features an authentic UL label, it might also be beneficial to check if the label covers the entire product or just certain components (i.e. the charger, plug, etc.). Underwriters Laboratory recently accused a large Hoverboard manufacturer of applying their UL label for the entire Hoverboard when only the battery cells and adapters had been approved. In this case, the label was authentic, but it appears the manufacturer might have misled consumers into what was tested.
If you are unsure whether or not a product has a real UL label or want to check what components were approved, the UL Online Certifications Directory is an excellent verification resource.