News item

Consumer receives electric shock from unsafe leads purchased on website

Warwickshire County Council’s trading standards service is warning consumers to be careful when purchasing electrical products online.

This follows a complaint from a Warwickshire consumer who received an electric shock from a mains lead he purchased from an auction website seller.

The results of tests on the product carried out by experts for Warwickshire trading standards revealed that it was both unsafe and probably counterfeit. 

The plug and cable failed every test. It was poorly constructed, did not have adequate insulation to prevent an electric shock and the fuse would not have worked properly in the event of the failure of the product. 

Warwickshire trading standards are now working to identify the business that sold the product and the importer. The product may have been manufactured in China. 

The product was a hard drive dock. The mains leads were unbranded.

Janet Faulkner, Head of Warwickshire Trading Standards said:

“There are stringent measures in place to try and ensure that electrical goods imported in to the UK are properly manufactured and safe. However, inevitably, due to the vast global trade in electrical products, sometimes goods that are poorly made or even counterfeit appear for sale in the UK.”

“Every year unsafe electrical products cause house fires and electrocutions which could lead to severe injury and death.”

“Everyone loves a bargain, but it is a false economy to buy cheap poor quality copies, that might even be fakes!”

The electrical goods most often reported as faulty or dangerous are:

  • Electrical chargers
  • Adaptors, including those used for travel
  • Extension and spare product leads
  • Hairdryers, tongs and straighteners
  • Small kitchen appliances like kettles, toasters and irons

 How you can help protect yourself:

  • Check the voltage of products is 230V, 50Hz (the UK’s usual domestic voltage) and that they are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger.
  • If the plug, leads or fuse or any other part of the product look in any way unusual, damaged or poorly constructed, do not use the product.
  • All electrical products should be CE marked. However, this is not always a guarantee of safety as some fake and dangerous electrical items have been marked in this way.
  • Carry out a price check and if you have time, visit the high street too. If a bargain looks too good to be true, the chances are it probably is.
  • Buy from reputable traders. Use online review websites to find out what people are saying about products and sellers.

Consumers and businesses that believe they have purchased dangerous electrical items are urged to stop using them and contact their local trading standards service via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 0208 1850 710 (English language).

The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or 0208 1850 710 (English language).

-Ends-

Note to Editors

For further information please contact:

Simon Cripwell, Trading Standards Officer, 01926 414039 or 07771 975570

  • The consumer is willing to speak to the press. Please contact Simon Cripwell, Trading Standards Officer, 01926 414039 or 07771 975570 for details.
  • The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or 0208 1850 710 (English language).
  • Some information sourced from Electrical Safety First www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/
DATE: 19 May 2014