The increase in the popularity of online shopping makes it even easier for dodgy goods to slip through the net.
Over 1.8 million chargers are purchased online each year in the UK and there has been a marked increase in the number of counterfeit electrical items seized each year. It is probably no coincidence that the number of fires caused by fake chargers has also increased.
Counterfeit and imitation Apple iPhone chargers pose a significant risk to the health and safety of users and, at the very least, present a risk of damaging connected equipment. The problem is made more serious by the fact that many who buy these fake goods will be doing so without realising it and unwittingly placing their loved ones and property at risk as a result.
Paying for a Name?
Buying a genuine charger from a reputable authorised retailer may be more expensive, but are you really just paying for the name?
Fake chargers are often made in China for as little as 3 pence, and those savings come from using inferior design and components. They will not meet UK safety standards and, in many cases, these chargers could overheat, catch fire, and deliver a potentially lethal electric shock to consumers while in normal use.
The majority of fake chargers that are PAT tested are found not to be flame retardant or contain any safety features. Poor design may also lead to stray voltages and increased heat generation.
Spotting a Fake
So, how do you spot a fake charger?
This is becoming increasingly difficult, however here are a few tell-tale signs:
Does it have a CE mark? Even if it does, these are easily faked and does not mean that the charger is genuine. The absence of a CE mark however is an easy spot.
Check for spelling mistakes, and compare the text colour, font and size to your genuine charger.
Do the pins look right? Are they 9.5mm (or more) from the edge of the charger, of the correct length, and sleeved at the base? If the pins are not sleeved or too close to the edge of the charger you risk electrocution when plugging-in or removing the charger.
Does the charger sit correctly in the socket? Do the pins fit correctly and the plug sit flush with the socket? Gaps or poor fitting pins/loose plugs can cause damage to sockets and are a fire risk.
Did the charger come with user instructions and safety information? Do these look genuine?
Despite these checks, the counterfeit chargers are becoming increasingly difficult to spot so perhaps the safest way is to only buy a genuine charger from a reputable, authorised retailer and avoid those “too good to be true” deals on auction sites.
Give us a call to see how we can help with your Portable Appliance Testing.