Contractors better at counterfeit awareness but not as good at reporting
By Anthony Capkun
March 4, 2014 – Eaton and U.S.-based Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) say their joint survey of IEC members validates the importance of educational campaigns focusing on the dangers and prevalence of counterfeit electrical products, and reveals more work is needed.
“The first step to tackling any issue is building awareness and an understanding of why it is important,” said Thayer Long, executive vice-president 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.”
Survey results indicate educational programs are helping increase awareness of the dangers of counterfeit products, providing the tools needed to make informed purchasing decisions, but also reveal that more work is needed to share best practices and encourage collaboration in order to thwart counterfeiting.
“We are encouraged by the high-level of knowledge our members have, but we must continue our efforts,” added Long.
Created to identify the current state of awareness around counterfeit electrical products, the survey shows where educational campaigns have been successful. IEC 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.
“Electrical contractors are recognizing the prevalence and dangers of counterfeits in the industry,” said Tom Grace, brand protection manager, Eaton’s Electrical Sector Americas. “Now we need to up our game and provide contractors with easier ways to properly report counterfeit products and build collaboration between manufacturers, industry organizations and government.”
Survey results show counterfeit products continue to be found in the field, and that a vast majority of respondents acknowledge that—were they to encounter a product they suspected to be counterfeit—they would not know where and how to report it. So 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 the suspect product and ensure that the potentially unsafe product is removed from the market.
Eaton says that it, along with IEC and other industry collaborators, are working to provide electrical contractors with better tools to recognize and report counterfeit products, and help identify potential counterfeit product supply chains.