Holiday shoppers warned counterfeit products can kill



    Busiest shopping season means more potentially counterfeit and unsafe
    goods on store shelves

    TORONTO, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - As a small mountain of counterfeit, uncertified
and recalled goods was crushed, CSA International, together with the RCMP,
Health Canada and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, today highlighted
the potential dangers of counterfeit and uncertified products as Canadians
head into the busy holiday shopping season.
    "When holiday shopping, don't toy around with fakes or unsafe goods,"
said Doug Geralde, director, corporate audits and investigations, CSA Group.
"The holiday season is a time of year when counterfeit and uncertified
products are, unfortunately, more prevalent, and they could turn a warm family
celebration into an unmitigated disaster. Giving a counterfeit or unsafe item
could mean unintentionally putting family and friends at risk of serious or
fatal injury or illness."
    Counterfeiters are becoming much more adept at matching a counterfeit
product's external appearance to a legitimate product, while at the same time
cutting corners on important safety measures to make a profit.
    Particularly with the holiday season approaching, Canadian consumers need
to be aware that the situation involving counterfeit goods now include not
only luxury goods but almost any product you can think of - including some
pharmaceuticals, batteries, toys and electrical products.
    Phoney and uncertified goods that could be found on store shelves include
potentially unsafe items such as holiday decorations, electric toys, household
appliances, power tools, consumer electronics and other gifts that may present
a shock or fire hazard. Items that are untested and uncertified can be
difficult to detect, and there is no way to tell what materials were used in
their construction and what type of hazard they may present. They may have
substandard, missing or toxic parts and construction.
    Consumers should consider "the three Ps - Place, Price and Packaging,"
said Ken Hansen, director, federal enforcement branch, RCMP. "Consumers should
be careful where they buy the product from and should watch for indicators
such as an abnormally low price, spelling mistakes or signs of shoddy
construction or performance."
    Items such as faulty circuit breakers, computer power supply units,
exploding cell phone batteries, and electrical cords on items such as
Christmas tree lights that melt or catch on fire when plugged in are just some
of the products that have been identified in Canada as counterfeit products
over the last year.
    In addition to warning of the dangers of uncertified products, CSA
International is also reminding Canadians to practice safety when enjoying the
holidays this year. According to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs,
faulty cords and plugs on holiday lighting are the leading causes of indoor
fires during the holiday season.
    "Don't get burned when buying and installing indoor and outdoor holiday
lights and decorations this season," said Geralde. "During the hustle and
bustle of the holidays, it's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season
and forget that holiday decorations can also pose a risk of fire or injury.
When using holiday decorations in and around the home, be sure to take a
moment to think about safety."
    Experts acknowledge some counterfeit products are difficult to spot, but
there are aspects that consumers should look for that may alert them that
their bargain item may not be legitimate:

    
    -  Significantly lower-priced items
    -  Flimsy construction
    -  Packaging with spelling mistakes
    -  Certification marks (such as those of CSA) on packaging but not on the
       product
    -  Certification marks that differ from those on the product packaging.
    

    Other tip-offs are packaging with poor graphics, or missing safety
information or instructions that would normally be enclosed.
    If shoppers find a suspected fake product, they should immediately stop
using it and advise the manufacturer and retail outlet where it was purchased.
If the item poses an immediate safety risk, they should contact their local
regulatory authority.
    To report a suspected counterfeit product bearing a CSA International
certification mark, or for more information about identifying counterfeit
products, consumers can visit: www.csa-international.org or call CSA Group's
Corporate Audits & Investigations at (416) 747-4278.

    About CSA International

    CSA International is a provider of product testing and certification
services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other
products. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and around the world, CSA's marks
appear on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of
CSA Group, which also includes: CSA, a developer of standards and codes;
OnSpeX for consumer product evaluation services; and QMI, a leading North
American management systems registrar. CSA International can be found online
at www.csa-international.org

    Version française disponible

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Anthony Toderian, Senior Media Relations
Officer, CSA Group, T: (416) 747-2620, E: anthony.toderian@csagroup.org

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CSA INTERNATIONAL

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