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I Got You By The Short Hairs

We all like product safety, no one wants to purchase a product that catches on fire while on the coffee table. Or as Ikea learned, falls on a toddler. The trouble is that as we all rush to bring products to market we get stuck in the quicksand of safety testing. Most big box retailers insist on safety testing for items they sell. The trouble is the labs that do the testing aren’t always that great. It seems that since UL turned into a for profit company, that’s right, a for profit company not affiliated with the government, money is the goal.

UL revises their standards from time to time and what that means to you is that any certification on a product that you currently have, needs to be revised, even if it doesn’t apply. For example, if you make metal coffee cups and the UL standard for those items now says that all coffee cups that are ceramic must have a sticker saying “Do Not Put On The Stove”, something that would not apply to you because your product is metal, you still must pay to have your report updated to the new standard. In your case your going to pay hundreds of dollars for someone to open that report, note that it doesn’t apply and close the report. Like I said, they got you by the short hairs.

Something that is not commonly know though is that companies like Bureau Veritas or Intertek have different branches in different countries. So that fee will vary significantly depending on which country updates the report for you. Also keep in mind that the sales people that work in the places are on commission, so you do have some negotiation power. So the next time you get a notice that your product certifications need to be updated it might save you some money to look around and negotiate.

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