Hundreds of WA consumers could have bought faulty USB-style chargers and adapters linked to the death of a young woman in New South Wales in April, authorities have warned.
Consumer Protection and EnergySafety has urged customers to carry out “urgent safety checks” on substandard products bought at 20 stores across the State.
Electrical retailers found to have been selling the products during a two-week investigation by authorities are located all over WA, ranging from Albany in the south to Broome in the north.
The products, USB plug-in chargers and adapters believed to have been sourced from China, are unapproved for sale in Australia and are liable to fail and cause electric shocks or even death.
In April, mother-of-two Sheryl Anne Aldeguer, 28, from the NSW town of Gosford, was electrocuted when a faulty charger she had plugged into her laptop exploded while she was wearing headphones attached to the computer.
EnergySafety and Consumer Protection said there had also been a local case last month in which a woman in Rockingham received an electric shock from one of the devices.
Retailing at between $5 and $25, the devices are hard to distinguish from approved products, according to Consumer Protection boss Anne Driscoll.
Ms Driscoll also said her agency was scrutinising a further 30 products to see whether they met Australian standards.
She said a list of the stores where the products had sold had been released publicly to help consumers identify whether they might have been affected.
“While we are confident that we have inspected all l8ikely retail outlets, there may be some stores that could still be selling these dangerous products that we are not aware of, and they could also be available for sale on the internet,” Ms Driscoll said.
Ken Bowron, the director of EnergySafety, said businesses faced fines of up to $250,000 for selling the dodgy products, while individuals could be hit with a maximum penalty of $50,000.
However, Mr Bowron said the offending retailers had so far been “co-operative” with attempts to stamp out the sale of the dodgy devices.
He said there were not necessarily grounds for prosecution in any of the identified cases.
“Consumers should always buy a well-known reputable brand of charger or adapter that meets Australian standards,” Mr Bowron said.
“We also warn against using mobile devices while they are charging and advise not to leave them plugged in on charge overnight.
“Suppliers and retailers have an obligation to ensure that the electrical products they sell are compliant with Australian safety standards and there are serious consequences for businesses found selling unapproved devices.”
Mr Bowron said there were a number of ways to ensure a product was acceptable under Australian standards, including whether it had the proper markings and insulated plug pins.
The stores and products identified include: Red Finger, Thornlie Square Shopping Centre; Creative House and Coventry Gifts, Mobitel and Gadgets, Coventry Village in Morley; The Aussie Man Cave Toys and Gifts, Gosnells Railway Markets; Tan Ly, Canning Vale Markets; Wotel Wangara, Wanneroo Markets; Mobile Solution, Mirrabooka Shopping Centre; Mobile Tech, Midland Gate Shopping Centre; Mobile Tech, Warwick Grove Shopping Centre; Accessories World, Kingsway Shopping Centre; Fix N Shop, Kiosk 6, The Shops Ellenbrook; I Workshop, Perth Underground; Doogues Lucky Lotteries, Murray Street Mall in Perth; Haiou Phone Repairs, Midland Gate Shopping Centre; Phix Carousel, Carousel Shopping Centre: Mobile Tech, Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson; Mister Money, North Road Shopping Centre in Albany; Entertainment Konnections, Paspaley Shopping Centre in Broome.