Saturday, May 26, 2007

Warning issued about counterfeit UL rating stickers on jukeboxes

TWICE: UL Alleges Certification Is Faked on Jukebox
Many consumers remember the days when they listened to their music from a jukebox, drinking shakes and listening to Elvis. Today as adults, these bebopping homeowners want to travel back in time to relive the days of Little Richard, Frankie Avalon and Jerry Lee Lewis by buying a jukebox for the home. Many new digital jukeboxes now even interface with iPods, bringing the 1950s into the 21st Century.
However, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization, has a word of caution for consumers and even custom installers: not all jukeboxes are created equal.
UL has released a statement regarding the safety of a Chinese-made jukebox called "Saffire" (model number JP 100W1) because it allegedly bears a counterfeit adhesive UL label and could be a fire hazard. UL is advising consumers that have purchased the product to return it to the store that it was purchased for an immediate refund. The product is sold at Target and other stores.

When pundits and economists talk about China's looming economic and manufacturing clout, the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to deal with is China's complete disregard for patents, trademarks, and intellectual property, combined with a feverish will to churn out substandard and often counterfeit products in the pursuit of short-term profits.

This news story rings a bell, because a few months ago, our firm was put through the wringer at a major jobsite by an extremely zealous and concerned electrical inspector. The nucleus of his concern was that the wiring we had installed was improperly labelled with a non-existant safety rating number by the vendor. This sent up a red flag with him because Alberta has seen a huge influx of high and low-voltage wire from China with counterfeit CSA and UL ratings printed on them. It's such a problem that every inspector in the province is on guard against it. Hey, would you want electrical wires installed in your house that don't meet CSA and UL approval?

We, and our cable vendor proved ourselves (and believe me, we gave the vendor a hard time afterwards for putting us in that pinch, through a printing error) to the inspector, but both sellers and customers need to be on guard against having crap foisted off on them. Personally, I am concerned by the short-sightedness, and sometimes downright dishonesty of chinese manufacturers. Sixty years ago, Japan tried that route, and "Made in Japan" wasn't always a compliment. China's manufacturing is at a crossroads, and it remains to be seen which road they will take.

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