Shocking risk with overseas adaptors
Those who buy electrical products online might be shocked to hear overseas plug converters supplied with appliances to make them useable in Australia could harm or kill them.
There have been two local cases recently in which consumers reported receiving electric shocks from power adaptors that came with appliances they had bought from websites.
Consumer Protection is now working with EnergySafety to warn the WA community about unsafe overseas plug converters that may come with electrical products bought via the internet but don’t meet Australian Standards.
One that caused recent electric shocks was a travel adaptor with multiple pin options.
When the Australian pins are plugged into a power board, two exposed pins designed for the UK are able to be touched — those pins are live at 240V, enough to cause serious injury or death.
The risk exists when the pins are in the unlocked position and fully protruding but also when the user has remembered to lock them, because even in the recessed position the ends of the pins can still be touched.
If you receive, or already have, an adaptor supplied with electrical goods purchased online or bought while overseas, be suspicious about its electrical safety.
Have it checked by an electrician before use.
Better still, buy an adapter from a reputable local retailer because adaptors sold here must be approved for use in Australia — they will be marked with an Australian approval number and bear the Regulatory Compliance Mark (a triangle with a circled tick inside it), indicating they comply with our standards.
It is an offence to sell unapproved electrical equipment in WA, with a maximum penalty of $50,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a corporation.
Alternatively, if you have an appliance with a foreign plug, ask an electrician to replace the plug with an Australian one.
Anyone in possession of unapproved adaptors from overseas should destroy and dispose of them immediately.
If you are going overseas you can buy safe travel adaptors in Australia to suit the electricity systems of most countries before you leave
Unsafe adaptors should not be able to be bought locally but if you have one you bought in Australia it should be reported.
If you notice any unapproved chargers for sale by a local supplier, phone EnergySafety on 6251 1900 or Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54. You can see our new warning videos about power adaptors on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.