Three Steps to Verify Circuit Breaker Authenticity

circuit breaker

How to avoid the dangers of the Gray Market

The circuit breaker you need is not in stock. You’re looking for breakers online and find one available, and it’s even half the price. Huzzah! It’s your lucky day, right? Well, buying circuit breakers is like a lot of other things in life—if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Products from the gray market are often counterfeit, which can pose a higher risk of failure, electrical shock, equipment malfunction, fire and more. Here are some hidden dangers of the gray market and three ways you can verify the authenticity of your circuit breakers.


The gray market is made up of products being sold and purchased outside official distribution channels without the manufacturer’s consent. On the surface, buying on the gray market may not seem like such a harmful idea. After all, it gets you the products you need, right? But there are several hidden risks that can come back as big problems later.

1. Counterfeit, used or damaged product

Most items on the gray market are not counterfeit, but can you afford to take the chance? Faulty equipment can risk the safety of your people and equipment, and just because the product is labeled as “new” does not mean it has not been used or tampered with.

2. Lack of warranty and support

When you buy Eaton circuit breakers through an authorized distributor like Van Meter, your investment is protected with warranty support. When something happens to your gray market breaker, it is not backed by the same protection.

3. Loss of regulatory compliance

Authentic Eaton circuit breakers meet the certifications you need for regulatory compliance and are labeled accordingly. On the other hand, products purchased on the gray market may not meet those standards and can lead to loss of regulatory certification. For example, if a gray market product was purchased from one country and sold in another, it may not meet the regulatory requirements of the country in which it was sold.


Van Meter, in partnership with Eaton, has a commitment to combat gray market circuit breakers by making sure that all circuit breakers we sell are purchased directly from Eaton or an authorized seller. Here are three things you can do to avoid purchasing counterfeit products:

1. Purchase circuit breakers from an authorized seller

The best way to avoid counterfeit product is to always buy from an authorized distributor. Authorized distributors can trace the products purchase right back to the original manufacturer, provide you the product warranty and provide post-sale support as needed.

2. Check the purchase price

Going back to our original scenario, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeit electrical breakers are often considerably lower priced than a manufacturer’s price, which makes them appealing to buy. Don’t take the bait! The risk for failure isn’t worth the upfront cost savings.

3. Assess your purchased circuit breakers

When you receive your product, you should closely examine it before installation. Does it look like the product or packaging has been tampered with? Is the product missing any information, like key barcode identification labels? Are product codes out-of-date? Does the label look worn-out or in poor quality? If anything looks suspicious, you should check it against tools from the manufacturer to verify its authenticity.


Even after you have assessed the parts you receive, how can you be sure they are authentic? Leave the guesswork out of it with Eaton’s Asset Manager app. In addition to a library of product data, the Asset Manager app can authenticate specific products using Eaton’s anti-counterfeit system. Simply scan the product in the app to be notified whether it is authentic. You can download asset manager on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Van Meter is committed to helping you get authentic electrical circuit breakers. With Van Meter and Eaton, you can rest easy knowing that the circuit breakers you purchase are authentic. For your next circuit breaker purchase, contact your local sales representative at 1-800-247-1410.

josh geigle van meter