Fake Electrical Goods Influx 'Risks Lives'

Emma Birchley, Sky News Correspondent
30 November 2012
Fake Electrical Goods Influx 'Risks Lives'

A surge in fake electrical goods entering Britain is putting lives at risk as shoppers look to snap up a bargain, industry experts have warned.

Hair stylers, children's electronic games and mobile phone chargers are the items most likely to be counterfeit.

According to the Electrical Safety Council , almost all fake goods contain incorrect or faulty parts that can cause fires, shocks or even electrocution.

"Many people see cheap electrical goods as a bargain but if the product turns out to be fake these goods are, at best, a waste of money," said spokesperson Emma Apter.

"At worst, they could result in a house fire, severe injury or even the death of a loved one ... If a deal looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is."

So far, 4.1 million counterfeit items have been seized in 2012 - the highest number of fake goods to enter the country in three years.

Research has shown that a quarter of people would be prepared to buy fake items for friends or family this Christmas.

Some of the most dangerous items to have arrived in containers at Britain's busiest port in Felixstowe are those that have a rechargeable battery.

Sasha Watson, an import surveillance officer for Suffolk Trading Standards, said: "We have seen a high level of electrical goods such as remote-controlled toys and phone chargers which are unsafe.

"The plugs can cause electrical shocks and fire.

"Make sure you are buying from a reputable trader and check that the plug has been labelled with the British Standard."

The Electrical Safety Council is urging shoppers to check that the packaging looks genuine and to look out for loose or broken fittings.

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