It’s great to have a product that boasts some seemingly reputable validation from a third-party source, but not all certifications are created equal. In fact, some are entirely misleading. When it comes to purchasing products with certification labels, you need to beware of the self-proclaimed certifications being used by some manufacturers.
The CE Offender
CE, you’ve probably seen the mark before. You’ll find this mark among certification labels on a myriad of electronics. But how many of us know what it is? For example, did you know that CE isn’t a certification at all?
The CE marking is a self-identifying mark that manufacturers place on their products to declare that they are in compliance with the standards of Conformité Européenne (meaning: European Community). The CE mark is used to identify electrical products that are said, and the keyword here is “said”, to fall under the expectations set by European legislation.
However, the unfortunate downside for consumers is that some manufacturers will use this mark as a pseudo certification. Remember, CE is a self-proclaimed mark of compliance. There are no protocols, no testing, and no third-party validation necessary for a product to bare the CE mark. Any manufacturer can stamp it on their product as a claim to safety, but that claim only goes as far as the manufacturer’s word. In other words, the CE mark alone should offer no reassure to a consumer that the product is safe or efficient at what it does. So if you’re considering the purchase of a product that boasts nothing more than a CE mark, you should really reconsider ever getting it in the first place.
The National Electrical Code (Another Misused Mark)
It sounds very legitimate; doesn’t it—the National Electrical Code? But the misuse of this code is even more ridiculous than the first. This common reference is abbreviated as NEC, and is also used by some manufacturers to provide customer assurance where it isn’t warranted. The problem with touting compliance with the National Electrical Code for electronics is the simple fact that it is entirely irrelevant.
The reason for the irrelevance is the fact that the National Electric Code is used as a compliance measure for wiring commercial and residential buildings with electricity. That’s right, buildings. Now how absurd would it be for an electronics manufacturer to say their product complies with the National Electrical Code? The moral of the story, beware of self-proclaimed certification labels.