NEWARK – State Division of Consumer Affairs investigators, during an unannounced sweep of urban discount stores conducted this month, discovered holiday lights, decorations and other electrical items that bear counterfeit labels of the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) testing organization and may pose risks to consumers.
Consumer Affairs investigators purchased 179 items from 43 dollar stores in Paterson, Newark, Trenton and Camden and sent the products to UL to determine if any bear counterfeit labels. UL found that seven items had the UL logo on their packaging but counterfeit UL labels attached to the products.
“Consumers depend on the UL label as proof that a product meets UL’s standards. When that label, or the labels of other testing organizations, are falsely applied to untested products, the public is defrauded and, of greater concern, placed at unnecessary risk,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
The stores selling the items with counterfeit UL labels cooperated with Consumer Affairs investigators, removing all such items from store shelves and providing their purchasing records to the Division. Consumer Affairs will notify the Customs and Border Protection within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since these products are imported.
“We’re committed to keeping counterfeit, and potentially unsafe, products away from consumers,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “A counterfeit label attached to an item is a deliberate attempt to deceive consumers and to commit fraud in violation of our state law.”
The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs said that products with counterfeit UL labels were found and removed from shelves at the following stores:
- D&D 99 Cent store, 181 Market St., Paterson
– Multicolor 140 Count Musical Christmas Lights
– Rainbow Light 12 Foot Rope
- 99 Cents Shop & Up,123 Main St., Paterson
– 10 Light Multi Tree Top
– Red Blue Green 100 Light String Lights
- Dollar Classic, 154 Bloomfield Ave,Newark
– 10 Light Multi Tree Top
– Multicolor 100 Count Christmas String Lights
- Jersey Dollar, 1960 Olden Ave Ext., Ewing
– Sunlite Baseball Night Light
According to statistics released by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), while 71% of people report that they are likely to use at least one extension cord for their holiday decorations, 33% of people are unlikely or very unlikely to check for a certification laboratory approval mark on the extension cords, lights and decorations they own or plan to buy. An estimated 3,300 residential fires originate from extension cords each year, killing and injuring more than 300 people, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
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