Shock at level of online traders failing basic electrical safety requirements

Issue 29 – July 2011

Energy Safety is concerned at the level of online traders failing to ensure their electrical products are safe – and thinks $33,000 in fines will send a clear message.

All traders, including those using popular online auctions sites, must comply with basic safety rules when selling electrical products, like chargers and plug adaptors.

An Energy Safety audit of 50 professional Trade Me traders found that 90% had not taken any steps to establish the safety of the chargers and power supplies they were selling. On further enquiry, 70% could not produce any evidence that their products were safe. Energy Safety has, as a result, fined 23 traders a total of $33,000 and warned a further 15.

Energy Safety Compliance Officer Richard Lamb said too many online traders were failing their responsibilities to their customers. 'Chargers and power supplies are used throughout our homes and workplaces to power laptops, phones, and other devices,' says Lamb. 'Their safety is something people take for granted. The failure of traders to comply with even the most basic of safety rules is careless and puts people and property at unnecessary risk.'

Lamb encouraged online auction site users to take simple steps when purchasing electrical products. 'Buyers should be cautious when shopping online and stick with reputable suppliers who can demonstrate safety with ease. Buyers can also ask for a supporting supplier declaration that shows how the charger or power supply meets a recognised safety Standard.'

Enforcement against non-compliant traders would continue, Lamb warned. 'Energy Safety regularly monitors online auction sites and will take action against traders who fail to comply with electrical safety regulations. Traders could also find themselves liable for costs if an unsafe electrical product was to cause a fire and, in the event of a fatality, may face more serious charges.'

If sellers have any doubts, they should seek professional advice and visit the Energy Safety for information on supplying safe electrical products (http://www.energysafety.govt.nz/).

Summarised from Energy Safety News, Business Update June 2011, Ministry of Economic Development.

Published in energy.