Market surveillance FAQ
What is a Product Incident Report (also known as a Field Report)?
A Product Incident or Field Report is a report about a UL certified product that is submitted to UL concerning:
- Products that bear a UL Certification Mark and allegedly malfunctioned or created a potential or reported hazard.
- Products that bear a UL Certification Mark but do not comply with UL requirements.
- Reports of misuse of a UL Certification Mark on products not eligible to carry a UL Certification Mark.
- Unauthorized or counterfeit UL Marks.
- Packaging, advertising, web sites, and brochures which incorrectly display the UL Certification Mark.
- Packaging, advertising, web sites, and brochures which incorrectly state or imply that a product or service is authorized to carry a UL Certification Mark.
- UL certified products which have not been or cannot be installed in accordance with UL safety requirements and/or applicable installation code requirements.
- Application of the UL Mark label to products in the field.
What can a submitter expect?
Anyone can report an concern with a UL certified product to UL, including: product manufacturers, authorities having jurisdiction, consumers, distributors, installers and other certification agencies.
Submitters will receive an acknowledgment that UL has received their submission and notification when an investigation has begun. The UL Market Surveillance staff may contact the submitter during the investigation to obtain additional information. Investigations can take a few days to several months to complete depending upon their complexity.
Notice is sent to the submitter upon completion of the investigation. This completion letter may not include details about the outcome of the investigation because information may be proprietary to the manufacturer. UL will take corrective action as appropriate. Where warranted, a public notice may be issued.
What does UL do to investigate a Product Incident?
The first steps of the process involve an independent verification of the concern and determination of the root cause. Once the cause has been identified, appropriate corrective actions will be implemented. The public may also be notified of potential hazards where warranted.
How will I know that UL is investigating my complaint?
UL will send an acknowledgement letter within one week after receipt of the Product Incident Report. The letter will include a Market Surveillance staff member's name and a Product Incident Report reference number. Once the work is done, a closing acknowledgement letter will be sent advising you that the investigation has been concluded.
Can I receive the investigation findings?
UL may not be able to share the findings of the investigation because the information may be proprietary to the manufacturer. UL will take corrective action as appropriate. Where warranted, the manufacturer or UL may issue a Public Notice.
How long will the investigation take?
The length of the investigation is dependent on a number of variables, such as the availability of samples, access to the failed sample, the test program(s) involved, and the complexity of the issue. Every effort is made to complete these investigations as quickly as possible. In some cases, we may be able to complete our investigation in a matter of days. In other cases, it may take longer. Providing UL with the most complete information possible in the Product Incident Report will help expedite the investigation.
If UL determines that a significant safety hazard exists, how would I know?
Should UL's investigation determine that there may be an imminent hazard, either UL or the manufacturer of the product may issue a Public Notice. UL issues public notices on ul.com.
What does UL need to begin an investigation?
The most critical information is the company name, model number, the information related to the UL Mark, and a specific description of the problem. It is also helpful to know how the product was being used, how long it was in use, and where and when it was purchased. If necessary, UL may ask you to provide the product in question. Pictures of the product are also helpful. When filling out the submittal form, please provide as much detail and fill out as many of the fields as possible.
Can I remain anonymous?
The submittal form asks you if UL can share your name with the manufacturer of the product. If you check the "No" box, UL will not divulge your name to the manufacturer.
Will UL contact me regarding the complaint?
UL will send you an acknowledgement that your Product Incident Report has been received and notify you when the Field Report investigation has commenced. If UL requires additional information from you, we will contact you. You will also be notified when the investigation has been completed.
Should Authorities Having Jurisdication (AHJs) report the application of labels to products in the field?
Yes, by all means. We encourage inspectors to report field labeling to UL by submitting the information online. Once a Product Incident Report is opened, UL's Market Surveillance Department will work with the associated parties to assure that the action is not repeated. Products that are labeled in the field without a UL representative present should not be considered Listed products. UL would need to perform a Field Evaluation to determine if the product is eligible to bear the Listing Mark and to permit the Listing Mark to remain on the product.
Can manufacturers change markings and labels in the field?
When manufacturers' representatives apply labels in the field, it is considered a field modification. Unless UL evaluates the product, UL does not know if the product continues to comply with UL's requirements. If you have applied labels in the field and require verification that the product complies with UL's requirements, UL can perform a field investigation to verify compliance. To initiate a UL field investigation, please call 1.877.UL.HELPS (1.877.854.3577.)
How can I tell if a UL Listing Mark is unauthorized or counterfeit?
The standard UL Listing Mark includes four basic elements:
- The familiar UL symbol (the UL in a circle)
- The word "LISTED" or "Classified"
- The type of product and
- A unique alphanumeric control or issue number assigned by UL
The following warning signs may be indicative of a product that does not have UL Listing:
- A product whose label does not contain the four elements outlined above
- A product that references UL on the carton or packaging, but does not have a UL mark on the product itself
- UL Marks with the letters "UL" not inside a circle
- The words "UL Approved" or "UL Pending" instead of "Listed" or "Classified"
For more information, visit the anti-counterfeiting pages.