With Christmas shoppers set to spend on average around £367 on presents this year, Trading Standards officers have issued a warning to be on the lookout for festive fakes. With everyone looking to save money and bargain hunting, we are warned that there is likely to be a rise in the number of counterfeit goods in circulation as Christmas approaches. The worrying thing is that most fake goods are of poor quality – and some can even be extremely dangerous.
The main items causing concern this year include:
Unsafe copies of Apple’s triangular plug charger. It is marked ‘Emerson Network Power’ with a Made in China logo on it – and it could destroy your device as well as delivering a 240-volt electric shock!
Fake iphone 5 chargers. These can blow the electrics in your home. Trading Standard officers carried out tests on a similar charger – again, not advertised as an Apple charger, and it was found to be unsafe.
Barbie style doll containing phthalates. This doll contained contaminates as a rate of 26.5% when it should have contained no more than 0.1% by mass. Phthalates have been linked to damage to the reproductive system, and an increased risk of asthma and cancer – and many types are actually banned altogether from the manufacture of toys.
Electronic cigarettes. Trading Standards recently came across a case of a consumer who purchased electronic cigarettes with a charging time of 2-3 hours. When plugged in, the cigarettes had completely burnt away and melted the handle of a nearby kettle!
Cheap mobile phone batteries – these can actually explode. Beware too of memory cards which may not be able to store much in the way of data, and items such as USB sticks, headphones and ‘designer’ handbags and clothing.
All of these goods can be found in shops, markets, car boot sales and online. Always try and check the provenance of goods you buy as otherwise not only are you buying potentially lethal items, you could unwittingly be funding organised crime whilst at the same time undermining legitimate businesses.
However, for all your purchases which may prove faulty or for accidental damage to your home over the Festive period, make sure you have sufficient insurance. Did you know, you can actually top-up your regular home and contents insurance to allow for the extra items in your home over Christmas? It’s worth talking to a professional broker and making sure that you have all the insurance you need to enjoy a stress free Christmas. One quick call to Westhill Insurance Services and you will get sensible advice for all your insurance needs. As an independent broker we shop around to find the best deal for you, leaving you free to concentrate on your Christmas shopping – and remember to watch out for the fake items. If they are too good to be true, then they probably are indeed TOO good to be true!