99 percent of fake Apple chargers are dangerous

Posted Dec 2, 2016 by James Walker
A safety test of over 400 fake Apple chargers has revealed a staggering 99 percent are dangerous and pose potentially fatal risks. It comes after Apple filed a lawsuit against a counterfeit charger manufacturer selling on Amazon.
Tech fans will be glad to know the Oculus shopping centre in New York hosts an Apple store.
Tech fans will be glad to know the Oculus shopping centre in New York hosts an Apple store.
© Digital Journal
The mass safety test of fake Apple chargers bought online was commissioned by the U.K.'s Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). It began an investigation into unofficial budget chargers to determine whether they meet the regulations for power adapters in the U.K.
Trading Standards bought 400 chargers from a range of online retailers. It then gave them to safety specialists UL for testing. The company applied a high voltage to the chargers to test their insulation, indicating whether they could be at risk of causing electric shocks or fires. Out of the 400 devices tested, just three included sufficient insulation to pass the most basic safety test.
Counterfeit chargers can often be several pounds cheaper than their genuine alternatives. Reputable third-party vendors that meet the requirements usually have similar prices to Apple. If the price looks too good to be true, the product should be avoided. Trading Standards urged consumers to spend the extra money, warning that the fake products pose credible risks to life.
"It might cost a few pounds more, but counterfeit and second-hand goods are an unknown entity that could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one," Leon Livermore, the chief executive of CTSI, said to the BBC.
Trading Standards warned you should look for three key indications that a charger is fake before plugging it in. If the plug doesn't fit easily into the socket, the pins may be the wrong size or aligned incorrectly. In the U.K., there should be 9.5mm of clearance between the edge of the pins and the edge of the plug. Different standards are present in other countries.
Every power adapter should come with detailed user instructions describing the conditions and limitations of use. If a leaflet isn't provided, the product may not be genuine. Chargers sold in Europe should also come with a "CE" safety mark inscribed on the plug. While this can be forged, it's usually an indication the product is genuine. Similar marks exist in other regions.
The report from Trading Standards comes shortly after Apple filed a lawsuit against a counterfeit accessory manufacturer trading on Amazon. As part of the case, it claimed that 90 percent of chargers sold on Amazon with "Apple" branding are fake. Reviews left on some of Mobile Star LLC's products included multiple accounts of chargers catching fire within hours of being unpackaged.
Amazon is reportedly readying a new initiative to try to banish fake products from its site. Amazon isn't the only retailer having trouble handling counterfeit goods though. The problem currently shows no signs of going away, putting people and houses at risk.
Trading Standards urged customers to check the authenticity of chargers while buying and after the product arrives. If there's any uncertainty around its safety, the device should not be plugged in.