You need to be careful where you purchase your LED replacements. Not every supplier of LED products is always the most reliable. But, you can tell if you are getting a quality product if it carries a UL certification.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an organization that has over 100 years of experience helping companies demonstrate safety, confirm compliance, enhance sustainability, deliver quality and performance, and more. If a product is UL certified, it means it has undergone an extensive and rigorous set of testing confirming its safety, quality and reliability.
It isn’t easy to fake a UL certification, but it’s not uncommon either. UL recently released a statement regarding a Chinese lighting manufacturer using a fake UL certificate number on its LED tube. And if you think only foreign manufacturers might do this, a few years back, a US public company got caught using a valid UL certificate on a non-UL qualified product. To be sure you know the authenticity of what you are purchasing, you must be able to properly identify correct UL certifications.
Check the Label
The easiest way to fake a UL certification is as simple as Photoshopping the label onto a product. But, as luck would have it, this is also the easiest way to catch whether or not a product has a legitimate UL certification. Straight from the Underwriters Laboratories’ help page, here is what you need to look for when identifying a proper UL label:
- Look for the UL trademark! It will always look like the picture above. Note that the UL is always in a circle, the U slightly above the L.
- Right under the UL trademark, the word LISTED or CLASSIFIED will appear in all capital letters.
- Under LISTED/CLASSIFIED you will find what the product is. In the case of the graphic above, the UL certificate would be for a “Class 2 Power Supply.”
- Most importantly, under the product identity is the control or issue number. The control number is typically four alpha-numeric characters. The issue number is a sequence of 4 to 6 numbers, and is sometimes preceded by two letters or the phrase “Issue No.”
- Other markings you may find with the Listing Mark are the UL file number; company name or logo; model, catalog or type designation; or electrical ratings.
Check the Number
If you still suspect a UL certification is fabricated, even after the UL listing mark looks correct, you can verify the authenticity of a UL certification by looking at the certificate number. Matthew Maa, VP of Sales & Marketing for Aleddra Lighting, identified several ways a UL certification could be falsified, and what to look for when confirming the certification number.
- Nonexistent UL certificate: The UL certificate number that goes with a product may not be listed on the UL certifications directory. In this case, the number can be completely false, delisted due to expiration, cancelled, or retracted after not meeting new UL standards.
- UL certificate mis-application: The UL certificate is valid, but is being used on a non-UL qualified product. This can happen with something as simple as a Type A LED Tube using the certificate of a Type B LED Tube. Always make sure the product number matches the product!
- Using a component UL certificate for the lamp/fixture: The UL certificate is valid and is related to the product, but not the complete product. In the case of some LED lighting products, the UL certificate of the driver is used in place of the UL certificate of the complete lamp/fixture.
- Fabricated UL qualified part number: Two products with similar certified UL certificates can be melded into a fake UL certificate for a different product. The fabricated UL certificate can be easy to pass off as valid as it is so close with two other valid products, but don’t let this fool you. If the number isn’t in the directory, it isn’t valid.
The purpose of this article isn’t to scare you into thinking all manufacturers are out to sell you a shoddy product, but rather to inform you of the dangers that are out there and to be aware of them. If you think you are purchasing from a manufacturer that isn’t on the “up-and-up,” use the UL Online Certifications Directory to confirm the authenticity of a product. And if it’s UL certified LED lamps and fixtures you’re looking for, then look no further than Thayer Lighting!