Make sure to protect your loved ones this holiday season
TIC Council alerts consumers to watch out for counterfeit products which can endanger health and safety
Brussels/Washington, 26 November 2020: TIC Council alerts consumers and authorities to be extremely vigilant during the holiday season and to carefully screen the products sold online. We call on everyone to be wary of illegal brand names bearing fake certificates and marks. To address the challenge of counterfeited and potentially dangerous products on the market, TIC Council has published a White Paper to help identify products that bear falsified certification or testing documents. This is part of an ongoing effort of TIC Council's members to identify fake products and contribute to reducing the high number of counterfeit goods.
One important category of products consumers should be extremely cautious about during the holiday season is the Christmas lighting which can pose serious risks of fire hazard or electrical shocks if not meeting the safety regulations which is generally the case with counterfeited products. Last year, almost half of Christmas tree lights from online marketplaces were dangerous and some could set on fire, according to a consumer watchdog report. Another category - counterfeit toys – are also the target of fraudulent online sellers. They not only pose a toxicity risk to children, but they also present a range of other grave safety risks, such as hearing damages (toys with sounds), choking hazard (eyes from teddy bears, Lego pieces), electrocution (electric toys), etc. According to the Suffolk Trading Standards, last year 54,000 teddy bears didn’t arrive under the Christmas Trees as they were stopped at the Port of Felixstowe by their Import Surveillance Officers, as the testing proved that the toys were unsafe with choking hazards. In addition to the dangers posed to humans, the economic impact is tremendous - in 2019 revenue generated from counterfeit toys reached $32.3 billion in the US and $44.6 billion in Europe, according to a market research on the toys and games industry carried out by Red Points.
Below are some tips and tricks to be considered before buying your presents for this holiday season:
- Check if the seller is an authorized dealer listed on the company’s website.
- Check the company’s email address and location. If the primary email address on the website is a free email account, the website owner might not be committed to the domain. Check the manufacturers or approved sellers website for the price.
- Be wary of cheap toys
“Counterfeit products bearing fake certification marks or falsified documentation can pose serious dangers to the end user as well as their environment. When products are tested and certified, it is typically to prevent harm from electrical shock, fire, exposure, burns, chemical risk, personal injury and tragic accidents of all sorts. Generally, a rogue operator does not bother to check if the products put on the market meets safety standards and requirements, this is why we call for a strong cooperation between private and public sectors to stop the proliferation of dangerous products worldwide.’ said Hanane Taidi, TIC Council Director General
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TIC Council is the global trade federation representing the independent third-party Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry which brings together more than 90-member companies and organizations from around the world to speak with one voice. Its members provide services across a wide range of sectors: consumer products, medical devices, petroleum, mining and metals, food, and agriculture among others. Through provision of these services, TIC Council members assure that not only regulatory requirements are met, but also that reliability, economic value, and sustainability are enhanced. TIC Council’s members are present in more than 160 countries and employ more than 300,000 people across the globe.