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Fake plugs targeted in pressure washers

MCM says that Chinese firm put in counterfeits

SHARE Fake plugs targeted in pressure washers

WASHINGTON — About 50,000 electric pressure washers recalled by a Minnesota company have counterfeit plugs that may fail to protect consumers from electric shock.

MCM International, of Eden Prairie, imported the washers from a manufacturer in China who installed fake ground fault circuit interrupter plugs without MCM's approval, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday.

Since the counterfeit plugs appear virtually identical to the real ones, only a professional inspection can identify them, the agency said. No injuries have been reported.

All electrical products used near water should use a ground fault circuit interrupter in a plug or an outlet, the government said. There were several electrocution deaths and injuries involving high-pressure cleaning machines before a voluntary standard required the plugs.

The recalled Black Cat pressure washers have a sticker with a cat and the words "Black-Cat" on each side. The model numbers — either BC-2000 or TW-1750 — are on a label on the right side of the power station. Other writing on the label includes: "Made in China;" "High Pressure Cleaning Machines;" and a production date between March 2001 and July 2001.

The plugs have a green "Reset" button and a blue "Test" button — some plugs also have a label that reads "CONNECT TO INDIVIDUAL BRANCH CIRCUIT ONLY." On the back of the plug near the electrical prongs are the words "WELLONG" and "Rainproof."

Target and Menard's stores sold these pressure washers from August 2001 to September 2001 for between $85 and $100.

The government said consumers should stop using these pressure washers and arrange an inspection by calling the company at 1-800-304-1316 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday. The company will replace counterfeit plugs.