Electrical Fire Safety Week: Black Friday checklist

Thu 23 Nov, 2017

Firefighters are encouraging people to take care during this year's Black Friday retail bonanza as fake electrical products, which present a serious fire risk, are likely to be among the festive bargains. 

They are raising awareness as part of their contribution to Electrical Fire Safety Week, a national campaign which started on Monday (20 November).

Research carried out last year by the charity Electrical Safety First revealed that an estimated nine million UK consumers had bought a fake electrical product as a Christmas gift in the past.

Richard Priest, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: "Fake electrical products appear more convincing than ever, but they can contain less than half the internal components required to run safely.

"Remember, if a bargain looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.”

Following these tips to avoid dangerous fake and substandard electrical products:

  • Buy electrical products from reputable retailers. This way you can be assured you’re buying the real thing.
  • Check prices and shop around! Check online shops and, if possible, visit the high street. Beware of "too good to be true" prices.
  • Check that voltage is 230-240V, 50Hz, and that products are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger.
  • When buying online, look for the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details.
  • Beware glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified. 
  • Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity. If the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’, double-check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.
  • Look for the seller’s contact details - a full address, and not just a PO Box number. Not all websites with a .co.uk address are based in the UK.
  • Read product guarantees, terms and conditions, and returns policies before you buy.

For more information on how to spot a fake, including after you’ve bought it, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk