Cheap phone chargers prove deadly

A woman was found dead holding her laptop and wearing headphones with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution. Authorities are saying the death was linked to a cheap USB-style charger. A number of these have been removed from sale at a mobile phone accessory stall in Campsie, in Sydney's south-west.

A woman was found dead holding her laptop and wearing headphones with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution. Authorities are saying the death was linked to a cheap USB-style charger. A number of these have been removed from sale at a mobile phone accessory stall in Campsie, in Sydney's south-west.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the cheap, rip-off chargers were low quality plastic that could melt, had no insulation on the pins, or approval marks. Fair Trading is advising consumers who have bought unapproved and non-compliant USB-style chargers for tablets or phones to bend the pins and throw them away immediately.

If your USB charger doesn't feature one of the marks displayed above, it is non-compliant with Australian standards, and is a safety risk. However, some fake chargers also copy these marks. If the price you paid for your charger seems too good to be true, or it lacks any branding, it is likely a fake, non-compliant device. CyberShack recommends always purchasing an official charger from your device's manufacturer, or a licensed third party charger from a respected manufacturer such as Belkin.

While cheaper technology options are always attractive, it seems that saving a few dollars could cost you your life.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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