With Christmas just around the corner, Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards Officers are warning shoppers about the dangers of buying cheap mains chargers for electronic gifts.
Most electronic gadgets given as gifts this Christmas will either have, or require, a mains charger, including mobile phones, games consoles, radio controlled toys, tablets, and GPS units.
Trading Standards is asking people to think twice before buying cheap mains power supply units, after a number of them failed safety tests carried out by officers, due to poor design and assembly of the chargers.
Although prices may seem like a bargain, these chargers may have the potential to cause harm. Whether bought as a replacement or an accessory, they could destroy an expensive present if they explode, overheat and melt, cause a fire or even electrocute someone.
By buying branded electrical items from well-known and recognisable sources, the equipment is more likely to have been fully tested by the manufacturer. Should something go wrong, there is a better chance of getting some compensation.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to be entirely sure whether a charger is safe without testing it.
Generally, chargers that do not meet safety standards tend to be from lesser-known brands and do not have any obvious branding at all.
If you suspect you have bought a counterfeit charger, or you receive one for Christmas, don’t use it, and buy a new one following the advice above.
For more advice, or to report a counterfeit charger, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 control the safety of electrical goods through product standards which set the safety benchmarks.