Buy the real deal: resident's warning

Shocked: Rita Sarno has learned an important lesson after buying cheap and unauthorised cables. Picture: Geoff Jones

Shocked: Rita Sarno has learned an important lesson after buying cheap and unauthorised cables. Picture: Geoff Jones

A Blacktown grandmother is warning people about purchasing cheap electrical devices after she received a small shock.

The Department of Fair Trading is investigating Rita Sarno's complaint that she felt a tingle up her arm while pulling an iPhone cable out of an electric socket.

She bought cables for her iPhone and iPad for a combined cost of $18 at Parklea Markets and has since discovered the cables were unauthorised.

"It was scary because I didn't know what was happening at the time," Mrs Sarno said.

"But I would rather have it happen to me than to my grandchildren."

A recent spate of electrical shocks from faulty and unauthorised devices has sparked calls to check that electrical goods comply with Australian standards.

NSW Fair Trading inspectors continue to raid stores across Sydney for unauthorised devices following the death of a Central Coast woman electrocuted by a faulty USB phone charger.

Two teenagers recently received electric shocks while using similar devices.

Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox urged consumers to check their electrical goods comply with Australian standards.

Approved devices have marking consisting of capital letters corresponding to the authorising state or territory and a certificate number.

Parklea Markets were contacted for a comment but didn't respond.

Mrs Sarno has since bought two new cables for $55 from a reputable retailer and had this message for others.

"Be very wary and don't buy them if they're cheap," she said.

"It's your life that you're playing with. It's better to be safe than sorry."

■ Has this happened to you?

PENALTIES

Penalties for selling unauthorised devices range from $500 on-the-spot fines to prosecutions carrying maximum penalties of $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment for an individual and $875,000 for a corporation.

Details: Fair Trading, 13 32 20 or http://fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

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