Dealing With The Problem Of Counterfeit Cabling

The problem of bogus electrical products being imported into North America is growing. While this problem must be addressed at a national level, it's important that small businesses understand the cause of the issue and steps they can take to help stop the problem from continuing.

The Problem of Counterfeit Cabling

The main reason behind counterfeit cables entering the country is the variability of copper price. Copper is a commodity that can vary widely on the exchange markets, and as such is prone to experiencing booms and busts. When copper price is low, the counterfeit cabling market isn't as predominant. However, when copper price soars, there is an associated influx of counterfeit cabling as cowboy manufacturers look to make a quick buck.

The issue with counterfeit cabling stems from the fact that the cable is constructed of a weak material in place of copper. This weak material is typically cheap to source and manufacture; however, its performance is much worse than copper in electrical applications.

The main problem that is found with counterfeit cables is a considerable increase in the resistance of the wire. This causes the cable itself to overheat, which can lead to fire breakouts if the problem isn't caught early.

Cables Entering Getting in the Country

There are a number of measures in place at the province and national level to stop counterfeit cables from entering Canada. However, it is inevitable that some will get through.  Typically, these counterfeit cables are indistinguishable from regular cables unless tested in a laboratory.

This is what makes the situation so difficult to regulate. Construction contractors and builders are already under intense economic pressure in order to generate a profit, so it isn't exactly practical for them to test every cable prior to installation.

There is also an inherent difficulty in testing defective goods that have already been installed. Cabling is built into a property, behind the walls or underneath solid floors, so removing them for testing would be extremely destructive and costly.

What You Can Do to Help this Problem

If you are purchasing the cables yourself, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from purchasing a bogus product:

  • Ensure that all logos, patents and trademarks are registered by an authorized body and are valid in the country of manufacture.
  • Check that the country of origin and manufacturer's name are stamped or embossed onto the cable itself.
  • Check that all security seals and holograms are in the correct place and haven't been tampered with.
  • Check the packaging labels to see if there are any signs that the product isn't legitimate.

In addition to the above, you should use your own judgment. Aside from the steps above, you should always adopt the 'Three P's' to determining the authenticity of a product:

  • Price – if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. While everyone loves to source a bargain, an extremely low price compared to competitors can be a big warning sign.
  • Person – Every company has to start somewhere, so it's understandable that people buy from unnamed manufacturers. However, by ensuring you only purchase reputable brands, you will greatly decrease your chance of buying counterfeit cables.
  • Place – Large, well-known retailers typically won't stock counterfeit cables as they will only buy from trusted manufacturing companies. As such, try to source your cables from chain outlets or trusted stores to avoid encountering counterfeit cables.

Additionally, it's important that you report any suspicious-looking products to your local authorities. This way, they will hopefully be able to trace the origin of the product and take steps to ensure that no further counterfeit cables are allowed to enter the country. If you are unsure whether a product is counterfeit or not, try talking to an electrician in Ancaster or wherever you live.