Don’t let a counterfeit gifts ruin your Christmas

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Burnt out plug

It’s always a great idea to look for a bargain when buying gifts. But Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service are warning Bedfordians not to take risks with their loved one’s safety when trying to make Christmas present savings.

Safety campaigners Electrical Safety First have carried out research into counterfeit products that could post a serious fire hazard and found:

  • 24% of people have knowingly bought a counterfeit product
  • 21% would consider buying one in order to save money
  • 16% do not think counterfeit products could put them at risk

The number of fake mobile phones seized has also risen by more than 50% with other top electrical fakes including hair straighteners, e-cigarettes, chargers and games.

These price tag for these fake products might look attractive but that means they’re of lower quality and may contain faulty or poorly assembled parts that can cause them to catch fire.

The rise in purchasing gifts online also means these counterfeit goods are easier to purchase from countries without the UK’s safety guidelines being followed.

Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service say the best option is to stick to reputable High Street and online retailers and follow the following tips:

  • Check the reviews: See what people who have bought products say about them. Good or bad reviews will have been left for a reason
  • Check the seller: Does the seller have any contact details? Make sure there is a full address, not just a PO Box number. Just having a .co.uk address doesn’t mean they are based in the UK.
  • Check the price: If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is. Compare prices elsewhere to see what the real price should be. You may still find a bargain on a genuine product with a bit of research
  • Check the purchase process: Look for websites that have a padlock symbol on your screen when you are filling in your payment details. Make sure there is a return or complaints procedure
  • Check the product: When it arrives, check for damage or loose wires, then check the voltage is 230V, 50Hz (the UK’s usual domestic voltage) and that it has a three-pin UK plug or charger.
  • If you have any suspicions about a product’s safety, or if you think it’s a fake, do not use it.

Never charge any item overnight and particularly in bed or under a pillow as even with the proper charger this is may result in a fire.

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