CCCA case studies NYC contractor’s counterfeit cable experience

When Mark Rewers, VP operations for BN Systems, Inc., a New York City-based contractor, was informed by his customer that they had purchased some low cost twisted-pair category cable they intended to provide for the project, he wasn’t immediately suspicious, as he assumed they had purchased the cable from an industry distributor.

Copper-clad aluminum lessons are learned in the CCCA's new case study
Copper-clad aluminum lessons are learned in the CCCA's new case study

The widespread proliferation of counterfeit and non-compliant cable in the information and communications technologies (ICT) industry is illustrated in the CCCA's latest case study of a New York City cabling contractor’s encounter.

When Mark Rewers, vice president of operations for BN Systems, Inc., a New York-based contractor, was informed by his customer that they had purchased some low cost twisted-pair category cable they intended to provide for the project, he wasn’t immediately suspicious, as he assumed they had purchased the cable from an industry distributor. That soon changed when it came time to install the cable.

“Our crews showed up to do the prep work and realized that the cable the customer was supplying was not the well-known brand that had been specified for installation and warranty,” said Rewers. “We examined the box and had never heard of the brand before."

He added, "We couldn’t find any specifications or verification of the UL number. After a little more research, we realized that the cable was constructed with copper clad aluminum conductors, which is actually banned in New York City for use as communications cable. ”

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Rewers informed his customer that the cable they had purchased did not meet code and that they would not receive a warranty. At first the customer was not swayed, convinced that the apparently authentic UL mark meant that the cable was listed.

“Our cable rep found several articles about copper clad aluminum cable from the CCCA, and another online article from a different source indicating that the brand in question was under investigation for UL fraud,” said Rewers. “We provided the information to the customer, and once it reached higher level executives within the company, the customer decided not to use the cable they had purchased.”

“They bought the non-compliant cable, couldn’t use it and couldn’t sell it. They ultimately lost $30,000. Thankfully, we ended up installing the originally-specified cable from a reputable manufacturer—everything turned out well and the warranty is in place,” he added. “My word of warning to others is to not accept any substitutes unless you are 100 percent sure it is UL listed. And I personally will no longer let my customers buy their own cable.”

More information on the counterfeit cabling issue can be found on the CCCA website. If you have had an experience with counterfeit or non-compliant cable, you can report it to CCCA through the association's Contact Us web page.

About CCCA
Headquartered at 1001 Pennsylvania NW, Washington, DC, 20004, the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) is a non-profit association comprised of leading manufacturers, distributors and material suppliers. CCCA member companies include Accu-Tech; AlphaGary; Anixter; Belden; Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company; Cable Components Group; comCables; CommScope; Daikin America; DuPont; General Cable; Graybar; Hitachi Cable; Leviton; Optical Cable Corporation (OCC); OFS, a Furukawa Company; Panduit; PolyOne; Prysmian; Sentinel Connector Systems; Solvay Specialty Polymers; Superior Essex; TE Connectivity; Teknor Apex; The Siemon Company; and 3M. For more information, visit the CCCA website, www.cccassoc.org or contact David B. Kiddoo, Executive Director, at dkiddoo@cccassoc.org or by phone at +1 410.667.0723.

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