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Cheap Phone Charger Leads To Fatal Electrocution In Australia

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Authorities are warning against the use of cheap aftermarket cellphone and computer chargers after one of the faulty devices led to the fatal electrocution of a woman in April.

Sheryl Aldeguer, 28, was wearing headphones and charging her laptop when she was found dead with severe electrical burns on her ears and chest. Investigators believe a cheap USB charger is to blame for the electrocution.

"These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire," New South Wales Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said. "The unapproved devices do not meet the essential safety requirements of Australian standards and are often made of inferior plastics and other insulation materials. Devices found by Fair Trading had no insulation on pins, or approval marks.”

The Fair Trading Commission is now taking drastic steps to get the cheap products off of the market. The small electronics shop that sold the charger implicated in Aldegeur’s death is being fined $87,500 for selling uncertified products. The commission also confiscated all other uncertified chargers from the shop.

"This is the first time we've been aware of [the chargers] in large numbers,” Stowe said.

The commissioner asked all residents to bend the pins on their uncertified chargers and throw them away immediately. 

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, International Business Times

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