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Thread: The fight against sub-standard electrical components

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The fight against sub-standard electrical components

    The issue of electrical component certification recently came up on TFSA in this question - and it seems to be a growing problem in the industry.

    EE Publishers asks Sub-standard product: can the battle be won? Well, it's certainly a battle that we can't afford to lose!

    The article mentions the SAFEHouse initiative as a push back from industry. Well, it's a start.

    What else can be done?
    Is there a way we could get the contractors involved?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Is there a way we could get the contractors involved?
    More like, will the customer request certified equipment to be installed, rather than using the cheapest material to do the job.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think it's all about the money as usual. People are obviously able to import sub-standard products with impunity so it's a customs and excise issue as well as a DTI one. They often make false claims about the products safety and its ISO/UL/SANS compliance and tset status which is a standards misrepresentation issue as well as there being a consumer protection angle.

    They can usually afford to sell the product at a fraction of the price of one that's been through the testing regime which means contractors willing to take the chance can make a higher mark-up. At the end of the chain you've got customers who are just price-driven sheep who for the most part are happy to be blissfully ignorant.

    So who's going to lead the fight? I don't see any likely candidates in the list above, maybe I missed somebody.
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    Generally the client wants the cheapest socket, switch etc available, I always offer both top quality and "Builders Warehouse Specials", BWS wins 9 times out of 10.
    If they keep importing crap it will sell.
    Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Blow View Post
    If they keep importing crap it will sell.
    Yep, that seems to be the problem. Do you think a mandatory defective product recall at the expense of the importer (in terms of the provisions of the CPA) might make importers think twice before they pump junk?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    So who's going to lead the fight? I don't see any likely candidates in the list above, maybe I missed somebody.
    Indeed you did.

    In May last year I made a decision. And things are starting to come along quite nicely.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Yep, that seems to be the problem. Do you think a mandatory defective product recall at the expense of the importer (in terms of the provisions of the CPA) might make importers think twice before they pump junk?
    I doubt it, importers will just disappear into thin air if there's a product recall and reopen next week in another name.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Indeed you did.

    In May last year I made a decision. And things are starting to come along quite nicely.
    Sharing is caring...
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    importers will just disappear into thin air if there's a product recall and reopen next week in another name
    Leaving the next layer down carrying the can then?

    Bear in mind the whole supply chain is in the firing line, and the problem is shovelled back up it until it can't be passed on anymore.
    My ultimate hope is to motivate the retailers and industry wholesalers to start paying attention to what they're moving.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    Sharing is caring...
    I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere - I joined the ECA.

    And one thing has led to another... as they tend to in my life.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Leaving the next layer down carrying the can then?

    Bear in mind the whole supply chain is in the firing line, and the problem is shovelled back up it until it can't be passed on anymore.
    My ultimate hope is to motivate the retailers and industry wholesalers to start paying attention to what they're moving.
    In all fairness most of the national retailers have their supply chains trussed up like a Christmas turkey. They usually have part or whole ownership in many of their suppliers or they have the local agency and they're probably not very likely to be the outlets selling the products that have been landed by some arbitary importer who's aim is to sell cheap, flood the market and move on to the next product with zero regard of safety, fit for purpose or customer satisfaction. That leaves the small independants.

    With the electrical installation components most established contractors won't use the rubbish. It's not worth their while because it costs them in warranty claims if they install cheap products or items without product after sales service and support.

    Whilst there are undoubtedly some substandard installation items such as switches, sockets and circuit breakers I think the products that are most guilty of being consistently substandard are the novelty type items, anything ranging from Christmas tree lights, geyser power saving widgets and swimming pool gizmos to battery chargers, general small appliances and insect killers. Many of these items wouldn't be purchased at an electrical wholesaler, more likely on a market, from a general store, from Gumtree or from a gadget type 'Chinese' shop. Many of these items wouldn't fall under the jurisdiction of the CoC and many of these items wouldn't be installed by an electrical professional. As such thay would likely have no point of contact with the 'electrical industry' so I'd question how effective the ECA or a similar body could be in controlling them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere - I joined the ECA.

    And one thing has led to another... as they tend to in my life.
    I'm only at half speed tonight, you did mention it and I didn't put 2 + 2 together.
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    Dave A (08-Aug-14)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    At the moment those fong-kong ballasts we referred to in the other thread, and the MCB knock-offs look like possible candidates.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Work as a repairs technician for probably one of, if not the biggest electrical distributor in SA.believe me,everything is fong kong chinese stuff,difference is,one comes with make-up in the form of our company brand name and china mall or chinese shops have the manufacturers name. So beside the warranty u may receive from us, the product is the same.

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