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NSW Fair Trading issues electrical safety warning 

12 September 2014

NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox, today warned consumers to take extra precautions when using electrical devices, following a Mount Pritchard house fire.

“NSW Fair Trading is liaising with Police and Fire and Rescue NSW about the incident,’’ said Mr Mason-Cox.

“The exact cause of the fire has not been determined however it is understood that a phone charger was plugged in but not charging in the room where the fire is thought to have started. “Fair Trading is also making enquiries into the event.”

Mr Mason-Cox said NSW Fair Trading warnings to only buy and use approved and safe device chargers had been heightened since June when an unapproved USB-style charger was linked to the death of a woman on the Central Coast.

“NSW Fair Trading undertook marketplace inspections across the state in late June and July, targeting the sale and supply of unapproved chargers,” he said.

“Last week, another unannounced marketplace inspection was conducted targeting retailers of electrical and gas appliances.

“Officers inspected 232 businesses, including those previously visited as part of the USB style charger campaign in July 2014. “All the re-visited businesses were found to be compliant and no non-compliant USB chargers were detected.”

Powers under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and its regulations allow NSW Fair Trading to direct businesses to remove dangerous items from sale and allow officers to seize items for examination and testing. Non- compliant traders can face prosecution action that carries a maximum penalty of $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment for an individual or $875,000 for a corporation.

“NSW Fair Trading will continue to conduct covert inspections of the marketplace to ensure consumer safety and to make sure traders are complying with their obligations,’’ Mr Mason-Cox said. “It’s also important that consumers take extra care when using electrical devices.’’

Consumers should always check with the seller or supplier to make absolutely sure that the chargers they buy comply with Australian standards, Mr Mason-Cox said.

For more information visit the NSW Fair Trading website

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