Your electronics purchased online are not as safe as you think
You purchase an electric toothbrush, phone or home appliance online. It arrives with a CE mark and a European plug, which you then plug into a travel adapter. That means it’s safe, right?
The average consumer will not notice nor understand that products with a CE mark mean they are only safe in the EU region.
The issue lies with a weak regulatory framework for electronics sold online compared to your brick-and-mortar store.
Many people are of the belief that if a product carries the CE mark it is safe and permitted automatically for use in Australia and New Zealand, this is not the case.
Whilst most regions of the World have generic requirements for product safety, most countries have specific/particular requirements that need to be met and Australia is no different.
Why is this a problem?
This is important because it is more likely that products purchased for example from an established Chinese manufacturer, are made for Europe or China which operate on 220V.
Whilst these products might function adequately in Australia, there is a potential safety issue in that the built-in safety margin does not stretch out to the 230-240V.
Or worse, a cheap product may have no testing at all.
Manufacturers — who choose to sell their products with a different plug such as for the EU or US — are placing consumers at direct risk.
With a turnover of $24 billion in electrical goods in Australia, now is the time to call for change.
The current regulatory framework is failing to address the predominance of products that are sold via online shopping platforms.
Comtest Group calls for the Energy Safe Victoria and regulators in each state to re-evaluate the existing framework and include provisions such as stronger surveillance for sellers on online platforms.
Online sellers may be unaware that it is illegal to retail electrical products without meeting Australian requirements.
Disclaimers should be required on online platforms for products that have a different plug or have not been tested in Australia.
If this situation remains unchecked, then the consumer market will continue to be flooded with products that could cause personal injury to Australians.