NSW businesses raided over USB chargers after woman dies

A number of businesses operating in New South Wales have been raided by the NSW Office of Fair Trading in relation to unsafe USB chargers, travel adaptors and power boards.

The raids follow the death of a woman in North Gosford on the state’s central coast in April. According to the ABC, the woman was electrocuted after plugging in a faulty USB charger to her computer.

The Office of Fair Trading said in a statement it has raided a Campsie mobile phone accessory shop in relation to the incident, removing from sale a number of chargers, travel adaptors and power boards which did not meet Australian safety standards.

The trader of the unnamed business is now being questioned by authorities and could face prosecution.

A spokesperson for the Office of Fair Trading told SmartCompany this morning two stores in Wollongong have been raided in relation to the devices, along with four stalls at the Dapto Markets and two stalls at Paddy’s Markets in Haymarket. Further raids are expected to be carried out in coming weeks. 

The Office of Fair Trading said corporations face a maximum penalty of $875,000 for selling the unapproved products, while individuals face a maximum fine of $87,500 and two years’ imprisonment.

According to Fairfax, a Wollongong woman has also reported that a USB charger she purchased at Paddy’s Markets exploded near her son’s head.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said in the statement the unapproved products are often made from inferior plastics and other insulation materials, and the particular devices seized by the Office of Fair Trading had no insulation pins or approved marks.

“Consumers must avoid these products and retailers should not be selling them,” said Stowe. “These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire.”

Stowe is calling for anyone with knowledge about the products to contact the Office of Fair Trading, and said anyone in possession of the products should bend the pins on the charges and dispose them immediately.

The spokesperson told SmartCompany the products appear to be imported “as there are no Australian approval marks and they are not made to Australian standards”. 

The spokesperson says if businesses are concerned they may be selling the products they should remove the devices from sale until they can confirm the devices are approved for sale.

“People can check the Fair Trading website for approval marks required on all declared electrical articles,” says the spokesperson, who also suggests contacting the Office of Fair Trading directly with any concerns. 

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