Fake designer candles pose fire risk

Sarah Coles
Fire at the Newton Fire Department Training House.
Fire at the Newton Fire Department Training House.

Beware cheap designer candles, because they may be dangerous fakes. Trading Standards has warned against the risk of buying fakes for Christmas, and has seized thousands of counterfeit designer candles that pose a real risk of starting a fire. However, thousands of fakes remain on sale.

Scented candles aren't the first things most people think of when you mention fake designer goods. However, the high cost of some of the high-end candles mean that there's money to be made by unscrupulous criminals.

In June last year a Huddersfield man was found guilty of selling fakes on Facebook, and among the counterfeits seized from his home were a number of fake Jo Malone candles. A month earlier another Huddersfield woman was found guilty of selling a number of fakes at a high street boutique - including more of the candles.

The risks
If you fall prey to the fakers, not only will you receive an item that smells very different, and is of far lower quality, you could be putting yourself at risk of fire too. Trading Standards warns: "While a cheap deal on the must-have gift may seem appealing in the moment, it is a false economy that can have frightening consequences."

In 2011 a Trading Standards expert warned that the glass on one of the fake Jo Malone candles it tested was of such bad quality that it exploded when the candle was lilt

The Daily Mail reported that one shopper had accidentally bought fakes which had started to sputter and fizz when lit - and smelled of furniture polish. She said she had been concerned that they could start a fire in her home.
Protect yourself

It can be hard to spot the fakes online. Research by Which? found that one in ten people had accidentally bought a fake when they were hunting for the real thing.

Some of the counterfeiters will try to fool shoppers by pricing their fake candles at just under the usual retail price, so as not to arouse suspicion, so a deal may appear to be a bit of a bargain, rather than seeming too good to be true.

The best protection is to buy from a reputable retailer, and to check the item carefully to ensure it is exactly what you were expecting. If in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of caution and contact your local Trading Standards office rather than take any risks.

Christmas shopping on AOL

Iceland's £5 lobsters are selling out

Christmas shopping online: finding the best deals

Final Christmas delivery dates

How to Avoid Counterfeit Cosmetics
How to Avoid Counterfeit Cosmetics