In Part 1, we said your first line of defense against dangerous counterfeit parts is to buy from reputable electrical distributor or retailer.

Here are some other precautions you can take.

 

  • Beware the high cost of low prices. There's no free lunch. Something with a price significantly below market is probably a counterfeit.
  • Check the box. You've handled enough replacement parts to recognize standard packaging. If the label isn't quite right or there's something else odd, suspect a counterfeit.
  • Check the part. Sometimes, you can spot a fake just by looking at it. The label is on crooked, a screwhead is stripped, or there's some other evidence it's been modified.
  • Look at the certification markings on the part. It should have one or more such markings. If these markings on the new part differ from what’s on the old part, suspect a counterfeit.

Don't use a suspected counterfeit part until you can verify it's authentic. Counterfeit parts may save you some money upfront, but their real cost can be staggering.