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Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis
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Third-Party “Knockoff” Cell Phone Chargers May Pose Electrocution Risk

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Evidence suggests that third-party (or “knockoff”) mobile device chargers may pose a risk of electrocution if the user answers the phone while it is plugged in. The speculation comes after an investigation into the tragic death of a Chinese woman, who was electrocuted to death after answering her iPhone while it was attached to its charger.

The victim was reportedly using a non-Apple-brand charger for her iPhone; such chargers may cut corners in the way of circuit protection or capacitor quality, which can result in a massive electrical charge being sent through the device.

Cheaper, off-brand products pose numerous risks for consumers, particularly when they are involved with electronics. Earlier this year, Senator Chuck Schumer called attention to the dangers posed by cellular phone batteries that were manufactured by third parties; there have been multiple reports of the cheaper third-party batteries exploding after users placed them in their phones. Around the same time, Best Buy recalled over 5,000 third-party Apple Macbook laptop batteries, due to a strong fire hazard from the product.

While a lower price tag can be alluring, it often means that the manufacturer has reduced the quality—and, in these cases, the safety—of the product. Consumers should exercise caution when purchasing an off-brand product, and should check with consumer safety groups and reports in order to determine whether a purchase is safe or advisable.