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Crack-down on unsafe electrical items

Operators who sell unapproved electrical products are being targeted by Fair Trading investigators following the fatal electrocution of a young mother on the central coast.  

NSW Fair Trading investigators recently removed a number of non-compliant USB style chargers, travel adaptors and power boards from a store in the Campsie area in southwest Sydney.

The seized items were made of inferior plastic and lacked the required approval marks. NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe warned consumers of the “potential fatal risk” of using non-compliant USB chargers that do not meet Australian safety standards.

The 28-year-old mother of two, Sheryl Aldeguer, died after she was apparently electrocuted by a faulty USB charger. She was found wearing her headphones and holding her laptop with burns to her ears and chest. The incident happened when she was talking over the phone to a friend from Dubai while it was plugged into a charger.

“These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire,” Mr Stowe said.

The raided business at Campsie is now looking down the barrel of a possible prosecution. Penalties for not meeting proper standards can result in an individual being hit with an $87,500 fine and up to two years jail. A corporation can be hit with penalty of up to $875,000.

A spokeswoman for Fair Trading also told Dynamic Business that it had conducted further inspections in two stores in Wollongong on Saturday morning after receiving information from local paper, the Illawarra Mercury, about unapproved USBs being sold at one store. While the unapproved USB chargers had been removed at one store, inspectors still seized two unapproved power suppliers for testing.

A number of unapproved USB chargers were also detected and seized by electrical safety inspectors from 4 stalls at Dapto markets and 2 stalls at Paddy’s Haymarket on the weekend.

“NSW Fair Trading will consider taking action against any traders found to be selling unapproved goods using the full range of powers available the Act,” a spokeswoman said. “Covert inspections at markets and stores will continue.”

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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly is a writer for Dynamic Business. He has previously worked in the Canberra Press Gallery and has a keen interest in business, the economy and federal policy. He also follows international relations and likes to read history.

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