Australian Government Warns Against Using Cheap USB Chargers Following A Recent Death

A recent death that may have been caused by a faulty USB charger has prompted Australia's Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, to issue a warning to consumers about the potentially fatal risk of using non-compliant or otherwise unapproved USB style charges. These are typically cheap knock-offs that can find at discounted sites and on eBay.

They can also be found in local stores. Stowe said that Fair Trading investigators recently removed a bunch of unapproved and non-compliant USB chargers, travel adapters, and power boards at a mobile phone accessory shop at a Campsie area. The person running the shop faces possible prosecution.

In such cases, maximum penalties for an individual are $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment, and $875,000 for a corporation.

Unapproved USB Chargers
Unapproved USB Chargers - Source: Fair Trading (Australia)

According to Stowe, unapproved devices don't meet the safety requirements of Australian standards and are often made of inferior plastics and other insulation materials. The devices Fair Trading found had no insulation on pins or approval marks of any kind.

"These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire," Stowe said.

This isn't the first time we've heard of such incidents. In July of last year, a 23-year-old woman from China who worked as a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines was electrocuted when taking a call on an iPhone 5 that was plugged in and charging. Reports at the time suggested she may have been using a third-party charger and not the OEM one provided by Apple.
Via:  Fair Trading
TButtons 5 months ago


RWilliams 5 months ago

I went to Asia once and somehow forgot my charger at home, so I had to buy a knock-off while over there. I monitored it while it was charging, and threw it out before I came home... I don't trust them at all. Same goes for knock-off camera batteries. It sucks to suck it up and spend more, but it's a small price to pay in the grand scheme...

tyretayl 5 months ago

Oh dayum, yeah I couldnt see myself doing something like that. WHy buy something cheap of course it won't last! :)

inspector 5 months ago

I never buy unbranded generic stuff if i have a choice. Its just cheap and not worth it. Brought a charger when i was on vacation once and it... well fell apart lol.

DennisWilliams 5 months ago

Who knew off brand chargers could be dangerous. Just wish chargers didn't break so easily then people might not use these off brand versions.

JeremyBrush 5 months ago

Even the official Apple one which is supposed to be high quality gets so hot when plugged into the wall you can't leave it plugged in for very long.

a750gixr 5 months ago

A friend of mine at work just "deep fried" his new iPod touch using one of those things. I can't remember if he got it on Amazon or Ebay. The wall outlet was fine but his iPod was so hot it almost burnt his hand when he tried to disconnect it.

He got a new iPod but, I'm pretty sure he isn't going to be buying any cheap adapters to plug his iPod into anymore if he loses the OEM charger. I feel bad for anyone who has been injured or suffered from these cheap knock-off's. They should al have UL stickers or brands on them to tell apart the legit ones from the knock-off's.

DennisWilliams 5 months ago

@a750gixr I don't think your phone getting hot is one of the problems these fake chargers cause. My galaxy s3 has that same problem where it gets hot when it charges. I think the story says these fake charges cause fires and heat problems on the other end. Your friend may have left the ipod on the charger to long.

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