Manufacturers Address the Counterfeiting Issue

Counterfeiting has been a problem faced by manufacturers the world over for years, but as e-commerce and global trade expands, the problem continues to worsen. In a 2019 report from the OECD, the organization estimated that counterfeited and pirated good accounted for 3.3% of world trade. A recent white paper from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) looked into the effects of counterfeiting on American manufacturers. Using the results from the OECD report, NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray estimated that counterfeits making up 3.3% of total trade in 2019 would have subtracted nearly $131 billion from the U.S. economy.

One major cause for this rise in counterfeited goods is the increasing popularity of e-commerce sales, which now make up 10% of all retail spending. The prevalence of e-commerce platforms makes manufacturers vulnerable to counterfeiting—third-party sellers can set up accounts on these platforms and sell counterfeit goods without ever having to provide verification of who they are.

In addition to taking profits away from manufacturers, NAM lists various reasons that counterfeiting hurts the industry: threatening manufacturers’ investments in innovation, violating intellectual property rights, undermining brand names and business reputations and confusing customers.

Counterfeits can cause not only customer confusion but also present safety hazards. In the case of a counterfeit meter socket, poor quality components can lead to extreme temperatures, product failure and damage to the meter. These problems could lead to a risk of injury for contractors, utility technicians and homeowners.

Milbank has a long tradition of manufacturing high-quality products with longevity and safety in mind. Many of our metering products are UL listed and are rigorously tested to ensure they are efficient and safe to use.
In contrast, counterfeited Milbank products will be built with lower quality components that lead to a shorter life span. How can you spot one? Here are a couple things to look for:
  • No Milbank stamp on cover of the product, no Milbank labels on the interior of the enclosure
  • Steel or aluminum jaws in the socket
  • Support clips for 50-100 Amps sockets
  • Polycarbonate blocks that hold bolts in place
  • Thinner gauged rolled steel
  • Wet spray paint finish
Milbank uses copper jaws in all products, which provide safe and solid conduction of energy. Our meter sockets don’t need support clips so they are not automatically provided, although clips can be provided on request or requirement from a utility. Our blocks are made of reinforced fiberglass, which can withstand high temperatures, as opposed to polycarbonate, which softens with heat. Our enclosures are made from 12-, 14- and 16-gauge galvanized steel and the electrostatic powder coat paint we use provides a higher-quality finish and protects products from the elements. 

By being informed about products they need and the dangers of counterfeiting, consumers can make smart choices when making purchases online. In addition to educating consumers, NAM recommends several action steps to fighting counterfeiting, including requiring e-commerce platforms to reduce the availability of counterfeits, modernizing enforcement laws and tactics to keep up with counterfeiting technology and improving private sector collaboration in the fight against counterfeits.

For more information about how to spot a Milbank counterfeit and our dedication to quality, check out our video below: