Selling Lamps Online, Understanding Listings and Liability

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Lamps and lighting are quite difficult for individuals or small manufacturers to sell to because of the technical expertise and liabilities associated with the product.

To sell a lamp to most countries, the lamp must be up to that country’s standard. Many places will not even allow a lamp to be imported if the lamp does not have the right electrical components and standards. Lamps should be UL or ETL listed to be sold in the United States for the US market. Using UL components does not mean that the lamp or lighting you are producing is UL or ETL listed. To be UL or ETL listed, you must pay an annual fee, have period inspections, and show that the lamps you sold have met all the UL or ETL standards and requirements.

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Understanding Lamp Listings and Certifications

A floor, table, or lamp needs certification in most countries to be sold to consumers. In the United States, a lamp should be UL or ETL listed.

To find out the difference between these two listings, you can read our blog, Is ETL Listed The Same As UL Listed? Understanding the Certifications by clicking here.

At Mondoro, we have UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification for portable lamps. We export many lamps from Vietnam to the United States, so we understand what it means to be UL-listed and have UL certification.

We also understand to sell a lamp into the US market with mitigated liability, the lamp should be UL or ETL listed. For other countries to require specific listings or certifications is not uncommon.

Almost every country has some standard for electrical components and parts. For example, a UL-certified lamp could not be sold in the UK as a British Standard lamp because even if some parts are the same, many parts and components are not.

Many suppliers may think this is not a big deal, but it is a huge deal for most countries. Many customs will stop a lamp at the border and not allow the lamp into a country if the lamp has the wrong certification or electrical standard and parts.

Only UL Components Then Your Lamp Is NOT UL Listed

Having all parts and components as UL parts and components is not the same as a lamp being UL or ETL listed. This can confuse some people; they think that as long as the components and the parts have the UL or other listing, the lamp should also be considered a UL-listed lamp.

This is not the case because any lamp considered Ul or ETL listed must undergo testing. In other words, we will conduct a series of tests on every single UL-listed lamp we produce. Only when the lamp has passed those UL tests can we certify the lamp as a UL lamp and put a UL sticker on the socket.

A UL inspector must check every electric component we use on a lamp. We must show our UL inspector that every important UL component we use is also tested and certified.

To have a lamp UL listed is not as easy as running down to the hardware store and buying some UL parts and components. Being UL-listed is about the entire testing and certification of the lamp.

Periodic UL Inspections and UL Fees

We must pay yearly UL inspection fees to keep our UL listing up-to-date. A certified UL inspector will periodically visit our factory to check all the parts and components and test our lamps.

This is part of the entire UL listing process, as the standards and testing are rigorous. That is why a UL listing can be very costly and challenging for a small manufacturer or supplier.

The UL or ETL listing is about safety. A lamp uses electrical components; if these components are inferior or the lamp is not wired correctly, it can be a safety or fire hazard. This is why most countries will require some standards for consumer electrical products.

It is also why if you try to send a UL lamp to another non-UL-certified country via courier or container ship, there is a good chance the customs and border officials of that country will stop the lamp from entering the country. This makes it very difficult for small suppliers to sell lamps worldwide as there are so many standards, parts, components, and testing variables.

Product Liability Insurance and UL Lamps

If you sell lamps or any other product in the United States, you should get product liability insurance to mitigate your liability. Product liability insurance is essential to sell to a country like the United States.

Even in our manufacturing, we have to deal with a few crazy complaints or threats of lawsuits; everyone does.

These never amounted to anything, but I can attest that there are people out there looking at how they can get money from companies and people by making unjustified and, often, silly complaints. Many lawyers in the United States only take this kind of liability case as they are profitable.

Depending on what country you are located in, if the complaint is severe, the US courts or US lawyers may even come after you via your laws and legal system.

For your safety, we recommend that anyone looking to sell lamps or other products in the US or other markets have a product liability insurance policy. If you are an eCommerce store, many insurance agents on the internet specialize in selling to small eCommerce stores.

I realize the UL listing and Product Liability insurance can be expensive – especially for a small supplier or manufacturer. But these standards are all set up to help you mitigate your liability when selling a product with electrical components like a lamp.

This is also what makes producing or supplying lamps so difficult – it is a product that requires technical expertise and the correct components, listings, and insurance.

If you want to import some UL-listed lamps, we would love to talk to you and see how we can help you.

At Mondoro, we create, develop, and manufacture home decor and home furnishing products, including UL-listed portable table lamps, floor lamps, and other portable lamps.

Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, AnitaCheck out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.

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You can discover more by reading What Is The Difference Between LED, CFL, and Incandescent Light Bulbs? by clicking here.

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Anita Hummel
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