Sorting Fact from Fiction: Evaluating the Legitimacy of Custom Neon-LED Signs
An LED or custom neon sign, which is safe and high-quality, can be a great way to advertise your business, no matter what industry it may be. A custom sign is a great way to market products and showcase your brand’s personality. It can also add color and flair to your storefront and interior decor.
Many LED and neon signs look different. There is a wide selection of quality and price between different sign companies.
Keep in mind the following two elements when creating a sign.
- It must be visible from all directions, not just at night but also during daylight hours. The majority of businesses’ hours are during daylight hours so it’s vital to take advantage.
- It should not be removed within a few months. It should last at least one year.
Although the sticker price for a high-quality sign may seem daunting, it can also be a great investment. Customers tell us that the SpellBrite sign they purchased paid for themselves in as little as a few weeks or days. You will also see a higher return on investment if you have a quality sign that is durable and can be seen by customers all day long. A sign that lasts ten years or more will be more effective than a sign that breaks doesn’t work as well as it should or looks cheap, which can reflect poorly on your business. It’s not worth spending hundreds of money on a poor-quality business sign.
How to spot quality signs
There are many sign companies and retailers that claim to sell the best signs. However, it can be confusing to identify which companies offer high-quality products that last. A lot of signs on the market aren’t tested or certified for quality. If you don’t choose a high-quality sign, you risk wasting your money. This is especially true if you deal with sellers on third-party sites like Amazon and Etsy. Signs are powered by electricity. This makes it more than just a concern about how long signs last. It can also be a safety issue that could pose danger to you and your customers.
A guideline for buying a custom neon sign or LED neon sign is to make sure you know the basics. Below is a detailed overview of how to evaluate and verify the quality of a sign. This will allow you to get the best deal possible. These tips and tricks can help you create a lasting sign that will increase sales and attract new customers.
Avoid These Signs If You Want Bright Signs
Edge-lit signs will not work if brightness is a priority for you. This is the case for many business owners. Edge-lit signs, which are etched on glass or acrylic with a message or image, are just as their name suggests. An LED light source, which is often placed on the glass or acrylic, lights up the etching. This type of sign is beautiful visually and can be used for interior purposes, especially in low-light areas. This aesthetic value comes with a price: even high-quality edge-lit signs can’t project much sunlight. Edge-lit signs were not intended to be displayed in a window, shouting out information to customers. An edge-lit sign is not the best choice if you want a bright sign.
Product certifications, quality & safety
The quality of a sign depends on its technical design, how it is made, and what components are used. A poor quality sign can be a result of taking shortcuts in any one of these areas. To illustrate, a manufacturer may use lower-quality LEDs to reduce costs, but “overdrive” them electronically to make the LEDs extremely bright. Overdriving LEDs drastically reduces their lifetime. Your sign may appear great when it turns on but LEDs will quickly dim and the light will fade, so your sign will be less appealing to anyone.
Companies that produce quality, long-lasting signs will invest in having them certified. They are usually certified under the UL Certification in the United States and CE Certification in Europe. Obtaining UL or other certifications isn’t difficult for a well-made product. Although a UL rating does NOT guarantee high quality, it should be considered a red flag.
These certifications do more than just show a sign’s safety. Safety ratings allow for the regulation of what neon and LED neon signs can be sold on the marketplace. The information will be published on a company’s website if they have fulfilled or exceeded the certification requirements. If these ratings are not visible, you can always inquire directly with the seller. If they are genuine, they should be able to respond.
What is a UL-Rating?
Notice a tiny circle with the word “UL” in it?
This means that UL, also known as the Underwriters Laboratories, has evaluated the product. These non-profit testing labs dedicated to consistently and accurately testing product quality, have found the product to meet or exceed their requirements. The UL rating applies in the United States. This mark signifies that the product has passed safety and function testing by a trusted source.
It is important to understand that UL, as an individual company, has no control over whether a product is approved or denied. Only governmental organizations like the FDA have the legal ability to prohibit production based only on their research. However, even these agencies may use UL’s testing as part of their assessments.
Many individual certifications fall within the “UL” umbrella. If you want to check for safety regulations on your sign it must be UL listed. UL-listed products will carry a UL Label (see above). To get a UL label, the Underwriter’s Laboratory has to test the product to verify that it meets or exceeds nationally recognized safety standards. A UL listing not only confirms these things but also that the sign is safe from a ” reasonably foreseeable” danger of fire.
UL Rating should apply to the power supply and product.
The absence of a UL rating does not necessarily mean that the sign in question has been deemed unsafe. Some companies might use different certifications to achieve the same objective, such as the CE certification. UL certifications are the most widely used for lighting fixtures (including LED and neon signs, and fixtures), but an ETL label (Electrical Testing Labs), is another nationally recognized mark that ensures safety and quality. Another is CSA (Canadian Standards Association), also recognized in America and abroad.
A UL label does NOT mean that the sign will be completely safe. Companies sometimes alter which parts of their sign are UL listed. Multiple electrical components are common on signs. Each must be independently certified by UL to list the entire sign system.
Is your entire signage UL rated
Companies will sometimes vaguely declare “UL Rated” even though only the power supply, and not the sign, are UL-listed. Always check that the sign is UL listed, and not just the adapter or power cable. Our products include both the sign and power cord.
You can easily search the UL database for the company name to see if the sign is UL rated. This database lists every manufactured product that’s UL certified. This allows you to quickly check sign companies’ claims, as well as ensure your sign is safe. The UL database lists which items are UL certified by each company. If only the sign is listed but not the power supply, then it means that only the sign is listed.
What is a CE Rating?
On your neon or LED sign, you may see a “CE” label if you look closely. There are two possible meanings of this label, and you must know which one applies before purchasing.
How can you tell which “CE” marks are different? See the distance between C & E in the image above.
The “CE”, or Conformity Europeanenne rating, is located on the left. It is approximately the European equivalent of a UL Rating. You can spot this mark! The product in question meets all EU health, safety, environmental protection, and other requirements. This certification is required for certain products sold in Europe. A CE rating does NOT automatically mean a product is of high quality, but it does signify that the product was tested and verified safe by a trusted source.
But there’s a second “CE” type that looks identical but is not a quality standard. The “CE”, which stands for China Export, is used by Chinese manufacturers arbitrarily to indicate the item’s country of origin. As shown above, both “CE” logos look identical and can easily be confused.
Signs and other products that carry the CE “China Export” label may be of high quality and can pass other regulatory certifications. But the label is not subject to quality inspection or safety testing. Therefore, it cannot be taken as a guarantee that the product is in good condition.
Unsure if a company can be certified CE? Ask them! They can also provide proof through a Certificate of Compliance if they have the CE Certification “Conformite Europeanenne”.
Is it safe to use the Neon-LED Sign?
It doesn’t matter if this is true or not, most sign companies will say that their signs have safety features. This is an important selling point. Businesses value a safe sign as much as a visible one. Therefore, it makes sense that you include it.
However, the UL and related groups are those who determine and verify sign safety through certifications. Even though a sign company may claim that its sign has safety features, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.
You should not assume that a sign is safe unless you can see proof of safety such as safety ratings like the one above.
What is an IP Rating and how does it work? Or, How can you tell if a sign’s waterproofness?
It can be a great way to attract customers and drive traffic outside. But finding neon or LED signs that are waterproof can prove difficult. Ingress Protection ratings (IP) are important to look for when you’re searching for outdoor signs. IP ratings can be used to confirm the waterproofing capabilities of electronic items, such as lights.
IP numbers tell how effective a product is in keeping other things out. These quality ratings are calculated based on testing done at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Each digit is a single-digit number. The first digit represents protection against solids (pollen or dust) and is limited to a maximum number of 6. The second digit refers to protection against liquids. It can reach a maximum of 8.
Most common IP ratings for waterproof applications:
HTML65 – Signs with this rating have been tested by a waterjet like a Hose and have waterproofing protection for up to 3 minutes.
HTML66 Signs with this rating are capable of repelling water from a powerful jet stream for three minutes.
HTML67 Signs with this rating may be submerged for up 30 minutes in water up to 1 meter.
IP68 This rating is the highest on the IP protection scale. These products are fully protected from solid particles. They can be submerged up to one meter in water for up 30 minutes. Apple states that the iPhone 13 with an IP-68 rating is IP-68 compliant and can be submerged at depths up to 6 meters for 30 minutes.
Sometimes, multiple IP ratings may be displayed on a product. This simply means that the sign protects against particles in multiple ways. You can see products with an IP 65 or IP 68 rating. This means that the product is resistant to submersion or water jets.
Signage can be waterproof, but not weatherproof. Signs may not perform well in extreme weather conditions like the hot, humid Florida winter or the freezing Minnesota snowstorms. It is important to confirm with sign companies that outdoor neon and LED signs are safe.
Is it right to pay the price?
Everyone loves to save a little money. Low prices are a warning sign in the lighting and signage industry. While it doesn’t automatically indicate that a sign isn’t worth your money or that it’s defective, it does warn you to be cautious.
An LED sign with high-quality will cost you between $150-200. The price can rise to $1000 depending upon the size and type. Neon signs will cost slightly more upfront (closer than $300-400 for a standard sign) and can reach $4000 or higher for custom signs. Sign companies might offer sales on some high-quality items. They may also be able to provide stock items at a lower price, particularly if they’re trying to get rid of inventory.
Is the price misleading
A few sign companies are also able to be misleading with their pricing, especially when selling on third-party platforms like Etsy. Search for “custom neon signs” and you will see many sellers offering custom neon or led-neon signs starting from $20 each. If you look closely, however, you will see that these cheap signs only measure 10cm. You should always read the fine print. Sometimes, low prices hide additional costs and upcharges. Many sellers will use low costs to pay “down” on more expensive signs and add hidden fees at check out.
A low-cost, 10cm sign might be what you’re looking for but won’t work for most business uses.
If you come across a company that sells “high quality” signs for less than $50, you can be skeptical. Many of these solutions won’t have safety certificates, won’t work well, or won’t last very long.
A Return Policy is a Good Idea
The return policy is one indicator that a company makes high-quality signs. If you don’t like the sign or it isn’t up to your standards, you can return it for a full refund. This is particularly important, as customers frequently see their sign the first time they buy it.
Some companies accept returns. Many companies accept returns on stock signs. Custom signs will not be accepted. Other companies won’t accept returns for stock signs and will only repair or replace damaged signage from shipping. Some companies may not provide details about their return policy. If the company you are dealing with is legitimate, it should be easy to locate their return policies (or lack thereof). On our website, you will find our 30-day returns policy.
What is the warranty?
The warranty must be displayed on the company website. Many manufacturers don’t make any mention of their warranty. Others may offer a one-year warranty that depends on the specific issue. Some longer warranties sound fantastic, but be sure to read the fine print. Before purchasing, ensure you review the details of the warranty to see how long it is. SpellBrite’s policies are available. They offer an automatic 1-year warranty and a 3-year extended warranty. You can quickly find them.
Watch out for potential scams
The best ways to spot scams and identify whether a neon sign or LED company is going offer you a long-lasting, high-quality product are helpful. We will discuss what you should look out for when buying custom signage from a seller you are unsure about.
Information about the Company
How long have they been in business? A company that has been around for decades like ours should have plenty of information available online. Many companies that are just starting won’t state how long their company has been in existence. This makes it hard to know if their signs have high-quality materials or how long they will stay in business.
Is the company an Better Business Bureau(BBB) accredited business? The BBB does not require all companies to register, but they will often keep records about any issues that may have occurred. This will help you confirm that the business is legitimate.
Does the company have a website? Websites can often help you identify if a company is legitimate or fraudulent. Even though not all legitimate companies have websites to assist customers, one website can provide some relief.
If the company already has a website
- Is there a company phone number? If the company has a phone number, call it. Does anyone pick up the line or call you back?
- Can you find the privacy policies on the site’s website? Many websites run by scammers overlook this crucial piece of a functional site.
- In what manner does the company accept payments? While credit cards are generally safer and easier to receive a refund in the case of fraudulent activity, some companies will require payment by check or envelope.
- What about their website design? Is there any section that is poorly designed, or does it contain serious programming errors? Small businesses and legitimate businesses may have poor websites. Most legitimate e-commerce companies will invest money in a website that accurately portrays their brand, products, and services.
Are they on social media? All businesses need a digital presence, regardless of whether they are operating physical stores or restaurants, or signage companies. It is difficult to judge if a business has legitimacy and high quality solely by its social media. However, social media does provide great insight into a business’s values.
This is a red alert if the company has no website or social networks. A small business selling crocheted stuffed animal on Etsy is an exception to this rule. You can expect to find a website and social networks if the company is established.
Responsive to negative feedback
If the company uses social media, you can easily browse its posts and often learn more about them. Do you see negative feedback? Has the company responded helpfully? Is the company responsive and open to customers’ concerns? If you have suspicions that the company might not be legit, do not click on their bio link. Instead, you can open a new tab and Google company name to find out what results are available.
Search Appearance at Third-Party Vendors
Although e-commerce platforms try to ensure products are accurately rated and companies aren’t charging for reviews, many customers and companies slip through the cracks. We are going to be taking a closer look at Amazon, an e-commerce giant.
You should also note that Amazon’s majority of sellers are selling directly to Chinese sellers. It is difficult to get safety certifications or ratings. These sellers can protect their interests in the United States by creating ” brand names. This is done by adding several numbers to create a unique “brand name” for each company. If you see JHTKLWOII in a company’s name on Amazon, it is likely from China. This means that the product doesn’t meet the same safety standards, or has to comply with the same government requirements as products sold in the United States. To confirm where a company’s headquarters is, use the following steps to search for their website and social media. You may also contact their customer support line.
Amazon Search for Placement
Amazon reviews can also be extremely informative. Amazon has taken steps to curb negative reviews but there are still companies that buy positive reviews. Negative reviews can be purchased by companies for their benefit, which may compromise the legitimacy of negative reviews. Do these “high quality” signs have legitimate reviews? Do they include pictures? Are they all positive or negative?
It is often the 4 and 5-star reviews that are most helpful. They are the most likely to reflect true and accurate reviews written by paid customers. It is very unlikely that all the reviews written by a seller with more than 500 reviews and a 4.98 rating are authentic. Customers with middle-range ratings tend to have more balanced feedback that will give you a better understanding of the company’s weaknesses. Does the company have great products but poor customer service? False advertising of shipping times These reviews with 3-4 stars will let you know.
Reviews from other third parties
It is possible to use third-party reviews to help you determine if a company exists. While both the company being investigated and its competitors could manipulate these reviews, common sense allows you to see between the lines.
You can search the Internet for “[company] fraud” or “is it legit?” Then, look for their ratings on sites such as ScamRisk.
Sitejabber Trustpilot, Sitejabber Google Reviews Yelp, and Facebook Reviews will show them if they don’t. Even though these reviews are brief, many of them go into greater detail. The reviews of previous customers can provide valuable insight into the company and help you decide if the product will be a good fit for you. Particularly, it is a good sign that returning customers have left multiple reviews.
A bright sign can increase your company’s sales. You can increase your business’ sales for many years by having a quality bright sign. It will also give you security and peace of heart. These suggestions were valuable to us. The above strategies may not prove a sign bright, durable, or high-quality. You can still determine if the sign that you’re interested in is the right one by combining all the above strategies – including looking for safety and quality certifications on the product, looking for return and warranty policies, evaluating content on social media and websites, and researching third-party review sites.
We would be ( www.SpellBrite.com), delighted to provide you with a high-quality, custom sign. We have decades’ of experience in lighting and signage, and we would be pleased to schedule a free consultation. Send us an email at email@example.com. We’ll help you choose the right solution for your needs.