The fable of the fake cable
A cautionary tale from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and Gloucestershire County Council on the dangers of using cheap electrical chargers…
Once upon a time in Gloucestershire, a resident had a brand new iPhone for Christmas. He was very happy, and was so pleased with his new phone that he wanted to use it all day long.
To help him keep his phone charged, he went out to buy a new charger for his car, his place of work and at home.
First he went into an official store and he was shocked by how expensive the new charger was. Then he went to a phone shop and again the price made his eyes water.
The man went online and found a really cheap charger that said it could charge his brand new iPhone, so he ordered it right there and then and waited for it to arrive so he could carry on updating his friends with pictures and tweets.
The charger arrived and straight away the man plugged it into the socket to charge his new phone. He noticed that it wasn’t as heavy or as well made as his official one, but never mind…he had saved lots of money and was feeling very pleased with himself.
He went off to work, phone fully charged, but plugged his iPad in to charge it up so he could have another night binge watching Netflix trying to catch up with Peaky Blinders. The cheap charger began to overheat as it had no overload protection. All of a sudden, the charger exploded, catching alight and flames began spreading around the man’s bedroom and causing a large fire.
Crews from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service rushed to the scene of the blaze following calls from concerned neighbours, and they soon put out the fire but the room was badly damage.
The man heard his new phone ringing, he was very excited to take the call thanks to his fully charged battery using the official charger at work, and to his dismay was told about his home.
He rushed back and learnt from the officer on scene the fire was caused by a faulty charger, the one he had only just bought and saved himself so much money on. Now his bedroom was ruined and it was going to cost him lots of money to replace everything.
He was relieved that no-one was hurt, but swore never to go for the cheaper option again.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “Crews from the fire service have attended four fires in Gloucestershire since 2016 due to phone chargers.
“Most of these do not comply with UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire.
“It might save you a few pounds here and there, but the risks could cost you much, much more. Don’t take the risk, buy from reputable sources and don’t put yourself or family in danger.”
Andy Hermiston, deputy chief fire officer and head of trading standards said, “Consumers need to be aware that they can be put at risk of injury when electrical devices are purchased from a seller outside of the UK and European Union.
“Our advice is to buy products from reputable retailers. Don’t leave phones charging unattended, especially overnight and if you have any concerns, do not use the charger again.”
Electrical safety First give a useful advice on safety checks you can do for yourself when buying a mobile phone charger. https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/electrical-items/chargers/.
If you have concerns about the safety of anything you buy or about counterfeit items you can report them to Trading Standards via the national helpline 03454 040 506.