Report: Counterfeit education is working

Survey reveals that educational programs are helping to increase awareness of the dangers of counterfeit electrical products.


Figure 1: Complete results of the survey on the state of awareness around counterfeit electrical products of IEC members. Courtesy: EatonTo identify the current state of awareness around counterfeit electrical products, Eaton teamed with the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) to survey IEC members on their knowledge of the dangers of counterfeits.

Survey results indicate that educational programs are helping to increase awareness of the dangers of counterfeit products and providing the tools needed to make informed purchasing decisions, key learnings that will help increase electrical safety.

“The first step to tackling any issue is building awareness and an understanding of why it is important,” said Thayer Long, executive VP and CEO, IEC National. “Our anti-counterfeiting efforts with Eaton have not only raised awareness of the dangers of counterfeit electrical products, but have also helped the industry and consumers understand the ways to avoid such products.”

Members understand the potential safety dangers of counterfeit products, the sophistication of counterfeiters that makes it difficult to identify a counterfeit electrical product, and how to avoid such products by purchasing directly from the manufacturer’s authorized distributors or resellers.

However, the results also reveal that more work is needed to share best practices and encourage collaboration in order to thwart counterfeiting.

While IEC members are educated on the dangers of counterfeit electrical products, survey responses disclosed that such products continue to be found in the field and, when found, a vast majority of respondents do not know where and how to report the fakes.

More education is needed to raise awareness among those who could potentially identify a counterfeit, encouraging them to contact the brand owner. This will allow authentication of suspect products and ensure that potentially unsafe products are removed from the market place.

“We are encouraged by the high-level of knowledge our members have, but we must continue our efforts,” said Long.

Moving forward, collaboration between manufacturers, industry organizations and government is required to provide professionals industry-wide with easier ways to properly report counterfeit products. Share your experiences in the “comment” area below.

Complete results of the survey can be found at

As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness, training, and prevention. This involves building awareness of the risks that counterfeit electrical products present to personal safety and the economy with end customers, contractors, inspectors, and electrical resellers.

Anonymous , 03/31/14 11:20 PM:

Are buyers or endusers criminally liable for buying counterfeit products without their knowledge? What is the penalty for such?
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