It’s one of the most common problems of the smartphone, tablet and laptop driven society that we live in today: the purchase of a mobile device comes with one standard charger per unit. And all too often, that one charger eventually breaks, goes missing or becomes the dog’s chew toy for a brief moment.
In any of the above situations, the owner of the device has to seek out a replacement, or their shiny aluminium-cased device, with the responsive touchscreen and pleasing design, simply becomes an expensive paperweight. For small business owners the matter can be more than an inconvenience, resulting in lost business and earnings.
But the problem that these owners are often confronted with is that chargers from the official retailers are expensive. Coupled with this reality is the fact that there are literally dozens of pop-up shops, discount retailers and vendors who sell chargers that resemble the genuine article so closely, that few could tell the difference.
And that’s without taking into account the thousands of market stalls and shops overseas that sell duplicate phone chargers for a fraction of the official price.
But grabbing a bargain on phone chargers can have terrible consequences, from permanently disabling your device, to death, as was tragically the case for one NSW consumer.
What Are the Dangers?
The consequences of a fake charger are many. For example, faulty wiring can cause the charger to short-circuit. This can result in a surge of power to your device which overheats the internal wiring, and in many cases is irreversible without costly repairs.
More serious “shorts”can result in melted plastic casing and smouldering chargers. If near a flammable material such as wood, paper or carpet, these situations can lead to fires, which is especially dangerous as many users charge their devices overnight while the household is sleeping.
In exceptional cases, chargers which do not meet safety standards can electrocute the user, as was the case with the user who lost her life in late July.
Using non-standard chargers also generally voids any warranty that comes with the product.
How to Spot the Real Thing
There are a number of marks and signs that should appear on chargers that have been deemed safe for use in Australia.
The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) –The RCM is a distinctive mark that tells users that the supplier who has sold the device is registered on an official national database. The mark is a “tick”inside a circle, which is then place inside a triangle. From 2016 it will also be the only approved compliance mark under the ACMA registration program.
The ‘A-Tick’–The A-Tick is a symbol used to indicate that a piece of cable or telecommunications equipment is safe for use. It is a simple tick inside a triangle.
The ‘C-Tick’–is used to show that radio, electrical and electronic equipment is safe to use and meets the required standards for use. It is a white tick that is placed inside a black circle.
What Should I Do In Case of Electric Shock?
Obviously the possibility is low, but it still pays to know the basics should the situation arise if someone close to you receives an electric shock.
The first thing to do is switch off the power source. Safety switches play an important part in cutting power in the event of a short circuit. You also need to be aware of water, as it is a conductor for electricity and can result in secondary shocks.
If someone has received an electric shock and is non-responsive, do not hesitate to call “000”and request an ambulance. The emergency services operator will give you professional advice until the paramedics arrive.
Not Worth the Cost
The temptation to save some money and buy a cheap replacement charger for use at work or as a back up may be high, but the consequences can be far greater. In the long run, paying the extra $15 –$20 for peace of mind and the safety of you and your family is well worth it.
If you have any concerns about your chargers or cables, or need to upgrade your equipment, please contact Tele2 by clicking here.