Don’t Get Scammed: Tips for Identifying Authentic High-Quality Custom Neon-LED Signs
No matter the type of business, a high-quality LED or custom neon sign can make a great investment. The right custom signage can make it easy to display your products, show your brand personality, or add color to your storefront.
All neon signs are not created equal. There is a wide array of quality and cost between sign companies.
Two key elements are essential for most sign-makers:
- It must shine brightly enough that it is visible during the day and night. The majority of businesses operating hours are in daylight hours. It’s crucial to capitalize on these hours.
- It must last more than one or two years. Repairing or replacing a temporary sign can disrupt the business’ ability to run it or to have more time with family or friends.
The sticker price of a high-quality sign can seem intimidating but it is also a good investment. SpellBrite signs are often paid off in days or weeks by our customers. Your business will benefit more from a high-quality, durable sign than one that’s too fragile, isn’t reliable, needs to be replaced quickly, or has a poor appearance. There is no way anyone wants to spend hundreds on a business sign that is not up to the task.
How to find quality signs
There are thousands of sign companies out there, all claiming that their signs are the best. It can be confusing to figure out which ones sell high-quality, long-lasting products. Many signs you can purchase are not tested and certified. This means that you could waste your money on poor-quality signs. This is especially true for third-party sellers such as Amazon and Etsy. Signs that run on electricity are not only a matter of how long they last but also a safety concern for you and your customers.
This article will help you to understand what to watch out for when buying a new neon sign or custom LED. Here is a comprehensive guide to how to assess and evaluate the quality of a sign. These tips will guide you in your quest for a long-lasting sign to attract new customers, increase sales, and help you understand the risks and how waterproofing can be achieved.
Do Not Choose This if You Want A Bright Sign
If brightness is important for you, as it is to many business owners, then you should avoid edge-lit signs. Edge-lit signs are exactly as the name suggests. They are made of clear acrylic or glass and etched with an image or message. An LED light source (often on the edge of glass or acrylic) lights up the engraving. These signs can be beautiful and cost-effective. They also work well in interiors with low lighting. But this aesthetic value comes at the cost of not projecting much light, even though a high-quality sign with edge lighting is available. Edge-lit signs cannot be placed in a window shouting a message to potential clients. An edge-lit sign won’t be bright enough if it is your goal to find a bright, prominent sign.
Product Certifications Quality & Safety
The quality of a sign’s design, its components, and the manufacturing process are all determined by technical design. Any of these factors can lead to poor quality signs that fail quickly or in the long term. One example is that a manufacturer might use less-quality LEDs to lower costs, but “overdrive”, them electronically to make them appear brighter in the beginning. Overdriving the LEDs will reduce their life expectancy. It may look great at first, but the LEDs will eventually go out, meaning your sign won’t attract much attention.
Companies that produce high-quality signs with a long life expectancy will want to invest in certification. Obtaining UL and any other certifications isn’t too difficult or expensive for a quality product. The absence of a UL Rating is not an indicator of quality. However, it should be taken as a warning.
These certifications can not only verify the quality of a sign but also its safety. Safety ratings help to regulate which signs are allowed on the market, such as neon and led signs to use electricity. A sign company that has met or exceeded these requirements will typically publish this information on its website. If you do not see the ratings listed, you can still contact the seller to verify – if they are legitimate they will be able to answer.
What is a UL Rated?
Notice a tiny “UL”, enclosed inside a circle on the sign?
This means that UL Underwriters (nonprofit testing laboratories dedicated to testing product quality accurately and consistently) have evaluated the product. They found it to comply with or exceed their requirements for electrical safety and fire. The UL Rating is available in the United States. This mark indicates that the product is legal and has passed all safety and function testing conducted by a reliable source.
You need to know that UL certifies a single company. UL doesn’t have any control over the approval or rejection of a product’s manufacturing. Only governmental authorities like the FDA can legally block production based on their research. However, they may also incorporate UL’s testing into their assessments.
There are many certifications within the “UL” umbrella. To verify safety regulations on your sign, it must be listed as UL. UL-listed items will be able to display a UL tag (see above). The UL label can only be earned by products that are UL listed. A UL label confirms that the sign does not pose a risk of fire and is ” reasonably foreseeable”.
UL Rating should cover both the product AND its power supply
Even if there is no UL rating on a sign, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe. Different certifications might be used by different companies to achieve the same end goal. UL certifications for lighting fixtures are the most widespread, including neon signs and light fixtures. An ETL (Electrical Testing Lab), however, is also a nationally recognized symbol of safety and quality. Another mark that is recognized in the US and Canada is CSA (Canadian Standards Association).
A UL label doesn’t guarantee that the sign has 100% safety. Sometimes companies can alter which part of their sign has been UL listed. The majority of signs will contain multiple electrical components. Each component must pass the UL certification procedure to allow the whole system to be listed.
Is your entire signature UL rated
Sometimes, companies will state that the sign is UL rated, but not the power supply. It is worth checking to make sure that the sign itself, not only the adapter and power cord, has a UL rating. For example, our products have both the sign (left), as well the power cord and adapter (right). They are both UL certified so they both carry the UL label.
If you are unsure if a sign meets UL requirements, you can quickly and efficiently search the company’s name in the UL Database, found. This database has every manufactured product certified by UL. It gives you the ability to verify sign companies’ claims and assure that your sign remains safe. The UL database provides information about which items have been produced by the company. If the sign but not the power supply is listed, it means that only this power supply is listed.
What is a CE Rating?
Look closely and you might find a CE label on your neon sign or LED sign. This has two meanings and you should be aware of which one applies to the product before buying.
How can the “CE”, two marks be distinguished? As you can see, the distance between C (and E) is as follows:
The “CE”, which stands for Conformite Europeanenne, or “European Conformity,” rating can be seen on the left. This is roughly equivalent to a UL ranking. It is an honor to be able to spot this mark. The product in question is compliant with all EU health, safety, and environmental protection requirements. This certification must be obtained for products sold in the European Economic Area. While CE ratings don’t mean that a sign or product is high quality, they do indicate that it has been approved for safe use by a reliable source.
A second type of “CE’ mark is available that looks almost identical but is not considered a standard of quality. This “CE”, or China Export, stands for “China Export.” It is used by China’s manufacturers arbitrarily to display the item’s country of origin. The logos for “CE”, as seen above, look very similar and are easy to misunderstand.
While signs and other products bearing “China Export”, CE labels can be high quality and pass regulatory certifications, this label requires no quality check, safety testing, or quality control. It cannot, therefore, be regarded as a symbol of a quality product.
Is it difficult to determine if a company’s CE certification is valid? Ask them! If a company has the CE certification “ConformiteEuropeenne”, they will be able to provide evidence via a Certificate of Compliance.
Is that neon-LED Sign safe?
No matter whether or not this is true, the majority of sign companies will tell you that your signs are safe. This is a crucial selling point. Companies are looking for safety signs more than visible ones.
However, UL and similar groups decide to sign safety and show it through certifications. It doesn’t matter if a sign company claims that their sign’s safety is assured, especially if they are unable to prove or list any certifications.
It is not safe to assume that signs are safe until you can see evidence of their safety (such as safety ratings like these).
What is an IP rating? How do you know if a sign has waterproof status?
Placards placed outside can be very useful for driving traffic to your store and attracting new customers. However, finding waterproof neon signs or LED neon signs that work in all kinds of weather can be difficult. Ingress Protection (IP), ratings can be a key feature when choosing a sign for outdoor use. IP ratings certify the waterproofness of electronic products including lights.
IP numbers represent how well a product can prevent other things from getting into it. These quality ratings were derived from testing done by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The numbers are two-digit in nature. The first number indicates protection from solids, such as dust or pollen. It can go up to a maximum limit of 6, while the second number indicates protection against liquids. This can go up to a maximum of 8.
The most common rating for IP protection is:
HTML65 These neon signs for sale have been tested using a waterjet, similar to a garden hose, and have 3 minutes of waterproofing protection.
HTML66 These signs have shown the ability to repel water for 3 minutes using a strong jet stream.
HTML67. Signs with this classification can be submerged in water up to one meter for up to 30 minutes.
IP68 These signs have the highest protection on the IP scale. These products are fully protected against solid particles and can be submerged in water above 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Apple claims their IP68-rated iPhone 13 can endure depths of up to 6 meters for up 30 minutes.
Sometimes you may see multiple IP ratings. This simply indicates that the sign protects against particles from multiple angles. For example, products that have both an IP 65 (or IP 68) rating will resist submersion, as well as water jet.
Signage, even waterproof signs, may not be weatherproof. Signs can be damaged by extreme heat or cold weather, depending on the construction. A neon or LED sign that is intended for outdoor use should be checked with the sign company to ensure safety.
Is the Price Fair?
Everybody loves to save money. Low prices should not be taken as a sign of weakness when it is to lighting or signage solutions. You should be careful if you see a sign at a low price.
The cost of a high-quality, LED neon sign can start at $150-200. Prices can go up to $1000 depending on the size of the sign. Custom neon signs are more expensive. They can run up to $4000 or more. Sign companies can offer sales on high-quality stock items or sell them at a slightly higher price, especially if you are trying to reduce inventory.
Is the Price a Misleading Indicator?
Sometimes sign companies make it difficult to disclose their pricing information, especially on third-party services such as Etsy. Many sellers will sell custom neon signs or LED-neon signage starting at $20 per unit if they search for the keyword “custom neon sign”. But if you take the time to look closer, these signs are only 10cm wide. Sometimes these signs come with hidden costs. Some sellers charge low “down payments”, which are used to purchase more expensive signs.
A 10cm low-cost sign might be just what your business needs, but it is unlikely to be cost-effective.
Keep that in mind. If you spot company selling signs of high quality at a fraction (or less) than the $50 price, it is a good idea to be suspicious. Many of these signs don’t come with safety certifications, aren’t very bright, and/or won’t last for a long period.
A return policy is telling
If a company produces quality signs, it is likely to have a return policy. If you are not satisfied with a sign, or if the quality is poor, can you return it? This is especially important considering that customers see signs often only after they’ve purchased them.
Some companies allow returns. Many companies will accept returns on stock signage, but not custom signage. Other companies refuse all returns, and will only fix or replace signs damaged in shipping. Some companies won’t disclose their return policy. If the company is legitimate, you should easily be able to locate its return policy (or absence thereof). You can view our 30-day return policy.
What is the warranty?
The warranty information should be posted on the company’s website. Many manufacturers neglect to mention their warranty. Some might offer a 1-year warranty. This coverage is dependent on the sign’s particular issues. Some warranties offer longer warranties which sound great…until the fine print. Before buying, you should verify the warranty’s length and details. SpellBrite provides an instant one-year warranty as well as a three-year extended warranty that is free with product registration.
You should be on guard for possible scams
If you want to know if the neon sign company is going to give you a long-lasting and high-quality product or a dim, cheap alternative, these are some of the best methods for identifying scams. We’ll discuss the things to be aware of when purchasing custom signs made by a seller whose reputation we are unsure of.
Information for companies
How many years has the company been around? We expect to find plenty of information online about companies that are in business for decades. Many brand-new companies will not clearly state the length of their existence. This makes it difficult for people to see if the signs they have are high-quality, or how long their signs will last.
Is the business an accredited one with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? However, not all legitimate business register with BBB. The BBB will usually keep a record regarding any negative dealings. This information may help verify the authenticity of the company.
Does the company own a website? A website is a great way to determine whether a company is legit or a fraud. Websites can be useful for identifying legitimate companies.
If the company has its website:
- Is their company’s phone number listed? If it does, you can call the number and see if anyone answers.
- How can payment be accepted by the company? While credit cards can be safer (and it’s easier to get refunds if fraud occurs), some companies will require payment in envelopes of cash, or checks mailed directly to a specific address.
- How do they design their websites? Are there sections that appear very underdeveloped? Or are there serious programming errors in certain areas? Even small businesses can have a poor website design, and some may have small grammar issues. However, legitimate e-commerce firms will invest in websites that reflect their brand and offer products.
Does the company use social media? Every business, no matter how small or large, has to have a digital presence. It can be hard for a business to prove its legitimacy by relying on only its social media. However, social media does provide great insight into a business’s values.
This is a red signal if the company doesn’t have any online media, especially if there is no website. An exception to this rule would be if the company is small, such as a shop selling handmade stuffed animals on Etsy. If the business is well-established or large, expect to see a site and social media.
Responsive to negative feedback
If the company has social networks, you can easily scroll through its posts to find out more about them. Have you seen negative feedback from customers? How did they respond? Is the company responsive when potential customers post concerns to them on social media? If you believe the company isn’t legitimate, don’t click the link within their bio. Instead, click on a different tab and Google “company name” to see the results.
Search Appearance with Third-Party Suppliers
E-commerce platforms are careful to make sure that customers are honest about their products and that they are not paying for negative reviews. But many reviews and companies get left out. We’ll be focusing on Amazon, the e-commerce giant.
A key point to be aware of is the fact that Amazon sellers now primarily sell directly from Chinese sellers. This makes it more difficult for safety ratings and certifications to be obtained or confirmed. One way that these sellers are protecting American interests is to create ” Brands.” They do this by combining a series of numbers to create a unique company “brand name”. If you see JHTKLWOII listed on Amazon, it is most likely that the company has its headquarters in China. This indicates that the product isn’t subject to the same safety standards or government requirements as those manufactured and sold in the United States. It is possible to verify the company’s location by looking for them on social media or calling their customer service department.
Amazon Search Placement
Amazon reviews are also very telling. Amazon has loosened its purchasing policies, but many companies still buy positive reviews. Some companies will also purchase negative reviews of other companies. This can affect the legitimacy of many negative reviews. Do these “high-quality signs” have any legitimate reviews? Do they come with photos? Are they all very positive?
Sometimes, the best reviews will be 3 and 4. These are also the reviews that are most likely honest and authentic. It is unlikely that every review a seller receives has at least 500 reviews and a 4.98 Rating. Customers with mid-range ratings have less sarcastic feedback and can give you a better view of the company’s failings. Do they offer a great product, but horrible customer service? False advertising concerning shipping times These 3-4-star reviews will tell you.
Additional Third-Party Reviews
If you need to determine whether a company has legitimacy, it is worth looking at third-party reviews. Both the company and the competitors can manipulate these, but common sense can help you understand the differences.
First, search for “[company] scam” (or “is [company] legal.”) Then look up “[company] legit” to see if it is a scam. The top results will link to ScamRisk’s rating.
Sitejabber Trustpilot or Sitejabber will list them. Although reviews can be very brief, you will often find at least one review that goes into greater detail. Reviewing the products of other customers can give you a better idea about the company and the likelihood that the product will work well for you. A good indicator is to look for returning customers who leave multiple reviews.
A bright sign will increase sales. A high-quality sign can help you increase sales for years. We hope you found our suggestions useful. The strategies mentioned above are not 100% reliable in proving a sign is bright, durable, and high-quality. But, you can combine them all – look for certificates of safety and high-quality on the product; check for return policies and content on company social media platforms and investigate third-party reviews platforms – to determine if this sign is right.
We’d ( .SpellBrite.com.) be thrilled to provide a high-quality sign. We have decades of experience in the lighting, signage, and design industries. We would be happy for you to schedule an appointment. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call (312)575-9620. We will work with you to find the best solution.