Fraudulent UL marks lead to suits and countersuits over substandard cable

This is the second in a series of posts about counterfeit and substandard cable.

One of the hottest topics during the past year has been the legal wrangling over counterfeit cable. Last year, Anixter sued Commodity Cables, Inc. The suit alleges that Commodity Cables sold substandard off-shore-manufactured cable that did not meet flame- and fire-resistance standards established by UL® and the National Fire Protection Association. Some of the cable in question was marked as being UL® certified or ETL Verified. Anixter is seeking $1 million in damages plus punitive damages for false advertising, unfair competition, breach of contact, and deceptive trade practices.

The basis of the suit stems from when Anixter said it discovered numerous boxes of cable with apparently fraudulent UL marks. Anixter sent the cables to UL for burn testing, which they failed. In December 2010, Anixter recalled all its Commodity Cables products from customers. Anixter has also worked with many customers to remove and replace the substandard cable.

In June 2011, Commodity Cables countersued Anixter. The counterclaim is a defamation allegation.

More information on the history of the suits can be found at Cabling, Installation & Maintenance. Or, read more about how to avoid unsafe, unapproved, or counterfeit cable.

[UPDATE]
UL® warns of four more cables with unauthorized UL® references.

In an October 12 release, UL has identified four communications cables with unauthorized UL markings. UL states that the cables have not been evaluated by UL to the appropriate Standard for Safety for the United States and are not authorized to bear the UL Mark or any reference to UL.

On its Web site, UL identifies three CAT5e cables and one CAT6 cable with photos, unauthorized cable markings, manufacturer, if known, and where the cables were sold, if known.

This points to the importance of purchasing cable from known sources, such as Black Box. You can also check verified cable directories on the UL® and ETL Web sites.

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