Vector Inbox, August 2014

August 12th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector


This month, our readers commend SAFEHouse’s call to arms against non-compliant products in the industry and make some very valid points on combating this threat.

Our winning letter

Counterfeits threaten thousands of households

Dear Editor

I would like to commend Pierre Northard of SAFEHouse on his call to action in his article on sub-standard products. This is an extremely important matter because thousands of ordinary households filled with electrically-ignorant people are now equipped with dangerous sub-standard products.

Actually, I see this matter on two levels. Firstly, we have the outright dangerous products like multi-way power adaptors which explode or shock people when they plug something into them and, secondly, you have poor quality “no-name brand” LED lights which fail soon after one buys them. In the end, it costs the end-user more money to buy these than buying the proper product in the first place. These products also mar the reputation of brilliant new concepts like LED lights and set people’s minds against adopting new technologies. I have three thoughts about what practical steps could possibly be taken to improve the situation:

  • Inform and educate the public. This will cost a bit of money but should pay off in the long run. Advertisements on TV and in print could raise public awareness of the problem. So could radio interviews, which should not cost anything. Articles to newspaper editors will also afford the cause free publicity.
  • All the members of SAIEE, IESSA and other bodies should report poor quality products to SAFEHouse or other appointed persons or bodies when they see them on the shelves in shops. A single intervention could potentially halt thousands of dangerous sales where, for instance, retail chains mass-purchase low-end product and sell it through its outlets.
  • Name and shame offending dealers by publishing articles about their products in the newspapers and magazines.

This is an important issue and must be addressed for the sake of everyone in the country.

Neal Allen


Competitive pricing to combat counterfeits

Dear Editor

For me as an end-user and a South African electrical engineer, the first step in combating counterfeit and illegal products should be competitive pricing for safe and reliable locally-produced products.

The quality and reliability of locally-manufactured products must be good and here I must emphasise that I am unable to find a reliable South African adaptor to the European two-point plug standard found on most imported products.

We used to be proud of “Made in South Africa” and “Proudly South African” but this no longer seems the case regarding multiplugs and two-point adaptors. The only reliable solution so far has been to buy two-point multiplugs overseas.

What a disgrace to our industry that, while most of our locally-produced equipment is of excellent quality, we cannot sort this problem out.

Jacques Louw

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