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How to spot fakes

While it may sometimes be difficult to identify counterfeit goods, counterfeiters are often sloppy in their work. Consumers should be cautious of products found at deep discount stores that are packaged in boxes that do not display the brand, product name or certification label on the box or the product itself. Make sure to look for a reputable certification mark on the box and on the product.

Genuine UL Listing Marks

Genuine UL Listing Marks consist of four elements that can be found on the product in the form of a label, die-stamping, molding, or silk-screening (in certain circumstances this information may appear only on the packaging). Knowing this information may help to verify legitimate UL Marks.

The four elements of a genuine UL Mark are:

  • The name and/or certification mark of Underwriters Laboratories (UL in a circle).
  • The word "LISTED" in capital letters.
  • A control number (four alpha-numeric characters) or issue number (sequence of typically 4 to 6 numbers). The issue number may or may not be preceded by one or two letters and may or may not be preceded by the phrase "Issue No."
  • A product identity (what the product is).

 

 

Other markings that may appear next to or in the vicinity of the Listing Mark are:

  • UL file number (for most products this number is prefixed with an "E").
  • Company name or logo.
  • Model, catalog or type designation.
  • Electrical ratings.

How to identify counterfeit marks

The following warning signs and tips may help to spot products that do not have a genuine UL Listing:

  • A product whose label does not contain the four elements outlined above.
  • Any product that references UL on the carton or on the product itself but has no company name, trademark, trade name or other designation authorized by UL.
  • Low-quality workmanship and/or packaging marks with the letters "UL" side-by-side instead of staggered, the lack of a control or issue number, or the words "Approved" or "Pending" instead of "LISTED" or "CLASSIFIED."
  • Product packaging that contains numerous grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Legitimate products will generally include product manuals that provide applicable safety warnings and instructions for use, care and maintenance of the product. The lack of appropriate documentation may be a warning sign.
  • Legitimate manufacturers are proud of their products and want to receive consumer feedback. They will almost always provide a toll-free number or other contact information to be used for reporting any problems with the product. Be suspicious if the product or packaging does not display a company name and appropriate contact information.