Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today warned consumers not to assume imported products have been tested for safety, after the ACCC recalled an eighth hoverboard brand in just 26 days.
MEA CEO Malcolm Richards has pleaded with Australian consumers not to be dazzled by a bargain when buying electrical items – particularly online or from pop-up shops.
He said the United Kingdom’s National Trading Standards consumer watchdog had actively enforced electrical safety laws through the confiscation of 32,000 dangerous models in less than two months prior to Christmas.
As a result, exporters of dodgy electrical equipment had turned their efforts to Australia, where the import regime is not as strong.
“Overseas manufacturers know full well that Australia does not block untested electrical products from entering the country, and we’re seeing more and more junk arriving on our shores, and then on our shelves, each year,” Mr Richards said.
“Whether they’re making a dubious toy, faulty laptop charger, cabling with sheathing that breaks down prematurely or solar panels fitted with dodgy isolators, these manufacturers are not subject to the checks and balances we have in place to keep consumers safe.
“They are able to exploit holes in our legislation, using short-term channels to offload non-compliant and downright dangerous goods on the Australian market,” he said.
Mr Richards called on State and Federal Governments to address the issue of electrical imports as a matter of urgency, warning that Australia will remain a target country for large shipments of products manufactured in countries that don’t meet our safety standards.
“They know that they can keep churning out products to a lower price rather than to a standard by substituting parts, and that they will have no problem offloading them here.
“But when you mix faulty cabling, incorrect circuitry or missing safety features, such as the current-limiting circuitry that stops batteries from continuing to charge after they’ve been fully charged, it can be deadly.
“Unscrupulous operators will also exploit high demand, so when an item is selling out at well-known retailers, they jump in and fill the void by churning out cheap, dodgy imitations in very short time frames.
“Australian consumers deserve to be protected from this dangerous rubbish, and we need our elected leaders to act.”