Authorities are warning consumers against buying rip-off USB-style chargers after a young woman wearing headphones and holding her laptop was found dead with burns on her ears and chest, in an apparent electrocution.
The woman’s death is under investigation by police, and Fair Trading was unable to release any further details….
she was found with a lap top and headphones in her ears.”[She had] burns on both ears and her chest,”…
the rip-off, cheap chargers were low quality plastic that could melt.
The devices found by Fair Trading had no insulation on (mains) pins or approval marks.
Consumers who have already bought unapproved and non-compliant USB-style chargers, used to charge phones and tablets, are advised to bend the pins on the chargers and throw them away immediately.
People should also not use any electrical devices while they are plugged in and charging.
via Warning over USB chargers after woman dies from apparent electrocution.
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Update 1: A second story on this incident containing a bit more detail about the circuit path is here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/faulty-usb-phone-charger-blamed-for-sheryl-aldeguers-death-20140627-zsoc8.html
Update 2: Police are still investigating after a 28-year-old woman was found dead at a North Gosford home on the NSW Central Coast in April, police said.
A report will be prepared for the coroner after the woman was believed to have been electrocuted and her body discovered about found 4pm on April 23.
(quoted from this article
Update 3: Business owners risk jail time after phone charger raids:
During inspections this week, officers seized 76 potentially deadly electrical items, mainly chargers and adaptors.
Undercover inspections also took place at Paddy’s Markets at Haymarket and at Dapto markets. Six stall holders were found selling USB phone chargers similar to the one believed to have killed Aldeguer.
The two owners face maximum penalties of up to $87,500 and two years’ imprisonment.
Adam Coady said he bought a USB charger identical to the ones seized by Fair Trading off an eBay supplier in NSW. When he plugged it in, her got an immediate electric shock.
“It was similar to the feeling when you touch an electric fence, though definitely not as strong,” he said. “It didn’t throw me, it just felt gave me a bit of a zap.”
The seller replaced it for him. The USB chargers are still for sale on the eBay page.
Farmer Eedra Zey bought a $9.99 emergency charger from a convenience store on Pitt Street when she visited Sydney in December. It caused her iPhone to explode and she has taken the seller, City Supermarket, to the consumer tribunal. The store initially agreed to pay for a new iPhone.
“[The charger] smoked when I plugged it in and turned it on,” Ms Zey said, “It sparked, went bang and then the lights went out in the hotel room. It was a frightening experience.”