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Online sellers warned against selling unapproved USB chargers

Published 2014-07-27

28 July 2014



Warning not to sell unapproved USB power adaptors following death of woman in NSW

ESV is warning all online sellers that it is illegal to sell unapproved or non-compliant USB power adaptors. These items are classified as prescribed electrical equipment and must be certified prior to sale. To see which products come under the definition of prescribed electrical equipment requiring approval/certification, click here . The warning follows the death of a New South Wales woman where investigations have identified an unapproved and non-compliant USB power adaptor was potentially implicated. USB power adaptors must be electrically safe and compliant to the relevant standards and be approved/certified prior to sale. Other States and Territories in Australia (also members of ERAC), support this ESV warning to online sellers.

Risks of selling unapproved USB power adaptors

Hazards identified with non-compliant and unapproved power adaptors include the risk of:
  • Death or electric shock
  • Fire and property damage, and
  • Damage to equipment connected to the device
Under the Victorian Electricity Safety Act 1998 suppliers selling unapproved and non-compliant power adaptors/chargers may face prosecution in the Magistrates' Court, and can be fined up to $5904 for individuals and $29,522 for companies for each breach. Other States and Territories in Australia also have penalties for selling unapproved and/or unsafe electrical equipment. ESV has legislative power to require a supplier selling unsafe electrical equipment to recall that product. Other states of Australia have similar legislative requirements. Approved/certified electrical equipment is required to display a regulatory compliance mark or unique approval number. Approval markings can vary between states but typically they have an alphanumeric code. for example ESV140000 is one such mark. Other examples of compliance marks are shown on our webpage Selling safe electrical appliances and equipment, here. For examples of approved and unapproved USB power adaptors, click here.


The ERAC National Certification Database is a register for approved electrical appliances. A quick search of the approval number or model number should show whether your equipment has a current safety approval/certification.

ESV online electrical safety audits

ESV and other state regulators will be conducting electrical safety audits on online trading sites and advise you that if you are currently supplying unapproved or non-compliant electrical equipment, STOP IMMEDIATELY to avoid fines or prosecution. ESV is the independent technical regulator responsible for electricity, gas and pipeline safety in Victoria, Australia. Our responsibilities include ensuring electrical equipment offered for supply in Victoria is safe and meets the minimum safety requirements for its class. ESV is also a member of Electrical Regulatory Authority Council (ERAC). For further information, you can contact ESV on (03) 9203 9700.

Date: 20/07/2024 6:09

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