‘Fake electrical products threaten consumer safety,’ says minister

Counterfeit electrical goods are a danger to consumers and threaten the viability of the market, says Baroness Neville-Rolfe, minister of state for Energy and Intellectual Property.

Speaking at the Electrical Product Safety Conference last week in London, organised by charity Electrical Safety First, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said that recent widely-reported incidents have “shaken consumers’ trust in global brands” and illustrated the need to tackle fake products that posed a safety threat.

“I think everyone regards safety as paramount, but it’s not something we normally think about when we buy household appliances,” she said. “We assume they are safe and don’t pose a danger to our homes and families.”

“The recent Crime Report Survey from Trading Standards highlighted that electrical products continue to be in the top 10 investigated goods and we’re already seeing great work from rights holders to tackle this.

“It’s crucial that we all work together to combat the threat posed by counterfeiting to stop the criminal involved in intellectual property (IP) crime.”

The minister said that one organisation reported it had removed 3,255 listings from eBay and more than 5,000 listings from social media sites. She also reported that HM Revenue & Customs seized nearly 210,000 counterfeit electrical goods last year.

“If we want to have a strong economy, then we need to be committed to tackle the crime that seeks to weaken that economy,” she told the conference. “I want you to think about how you can improve the enforcement of IP rights, especially in the area of electrical products and their safety.

“The Government can set the agenda, we can help regulatory bodies to be more resourceful and highly trained, and we can crack down on those breaking the law. But if we want our electrical products, and indeed our homes, to be as safe as possible, and our businesses to be trading high-quality and legitimate goods, it requires everyone to play their part.”