Eaton and the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) have announced results from a joint survey of IEC members that validates the importance of educational campaigns focusing on the dangers and prevalence of counterfeit electrical products. The 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 results also reveal that more work is needed to share best practices and encourage collaboration in order to thwart counterfeiting.

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

The value of consumer safety and critical technology products seized by U.S. Customs and Border Control increased by 143 percent from 2011 to 2012. Eaton, IEC and other industry collaborators are working to provide electrical contractors with better tools to recognize and report these products and help identify potential counterfeit product supply chains.

“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.”

Complete results of the survey can be found at eaton.com/counterfeit.

While IEC members are educated on the dangers of counterfeit electrical products, survey results also show that such products continue to be found in the field and that additional education is needed. A vast majority of respondents acknowledge that if they encounter a product they suspect to be counterfeit, they do not know where and how to report it.

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 place.