Research by leading safety charity, Electrical Safety First, found that 1 in 6 consumers in the UK have bought a fake electrical item as a Christmas gift – and most of us are unable to identify a genuine electrical product from a fake.

I am helping the charity raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeits in the Christmas shopping period when high street and digital retailers offer a range of special offers and discounts.

Christmas is always expensive and we are all keen to get a bargain, but Electrical Safety First’s research makes it clear that shoppers must beware of fakes – particularly via the web. The Charity found that 3 out of 5 fake electricals are purchased online, with a third of buyers experiencing major problems with the item. And with almost half of all domestic fires in UK homes caused by electricity, this is a risk you don’t want to take.

Electrical Safety First also found that it’s not always easy for people to spot a counterfeit product. Three quarters of UK consumers were unable to identify Genuine GHD hair straighteners and 3 in 5 could not spot a fake Apple charger – and with the rise of online shopping, it can be even more difficult.  One in 5 online shoppers admitted they didn’t consider the authenticity of the product, with over half simply presuming that the electrical items for sale online were genuine.

And, of course, some people are deliberately buying fake products. One in 6 of those surveyed said they would consider buying a product – even if they suspected it was fake – if it was cheaper than the original.

Fake goods are often cheaper because they omit key components which can affect both the safety and functionality of the product. To make sure you buy ‘the genuine article’, Electrical Safety First has developed advice to help people spot a fake electrical product. Visit their website here to find out more. I’m urging all my constituents to check this before they do their Christmas shopping.