How to Identify a Counterfeit UL Mark
For over 100 years, Underwriters Laboratories’ ever-recognizable UL Mark has been a beacon of safety and peace of mind, guiding consumers to reputable electrical products that have been rigorously tested and approved for safe use. To this day, the mere presence – or lack of – the trusted UL Mark is enough to make or break the purchases of millions of consumers worldwide.
But like money, art, clothing, and just about anything else of value, the UL Mark has been targeted by counterfeiters. Products of questionable manufacture, which haven’t undergone quality evaluations or safety testing, are regularly sent to market bearing false UL symbols, and can threaten the people who purchase them with risks of fire, shock, and electrocution.
Although the ratio of counterfeit to legitimate UL Marks is extremely small, consumers should protect themselves by following these smart, UL-inspired tips when shopping for electrical products.
There are a few retail environments and instances in which you’re more likely to come across counterfeit UL marks. Exercise extra caution when:
How to Recognize a Genuine UL Mark
Whether a UL Mark comes in the form of a label or is die-stamped, silk-screened or molded into a product, it needs to contain the following 4 design elements to be verified as legitimate:
Additional signs of a genuine UL Mark are:
Tip-Offs that a UL Mark is Counterfeit
When shopping, steer clear of products whose UL Marks are missing the four main elements we outlined above. In addition, keep an eye out for the following red flags, which can also be telling signs of a bogus UL Mark:
How is UL battling counterfeits?
In addition to training US government agencies like the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Underwriters Laboratories has worked to battle counterfeit UL Marks by educating consumers and retailers on counterfeit products, providing law enforcement with real time support, and publishing detailed anti-counterfeit reference materials.
However, from the consumer standpoint, UL’s most noticeable preventive measure is undoubtedly their recently developed Holographic Mark, which will be put into full effect on newly manufactured products as of July 1, 2009. Intended for use on the products most likely to be counterfeited, the new holographic UL Mark features:
To learn about all of UL’s Marks and see examples of them, check out “UL’s Marks – What They Look Like and What They Mean,” by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
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