Sci & Tech

Fake Chargers Could Shock iPhone Owners

The international market is straining under the weight of low-cost fake mobile chargers, according to a new report
Iran’s Aladdin Mobile Phone Mall is the epicenter of fake chargers. Iran’s Aladdin Mobile Phone Mall is the epicenter of fake chargers.
Iran is not the only one to suffer from this, even in fully regulated markets like Britain the market continues to be flooded by dodgy items

A report from the UK’s Chartered Trading Standards Institute, a consumer protection organization, has warned shoppers that many Apple iPhone chargers have serious faults which could electrocute their owners. 

The group teamed up with the US Illinois-based UL Group to try out 400 counterfeit Apple chargers from several suppliers online, the majority of which sold for prices much less than the official retailers, Business Insider reported.   

According to the research, all but three of the 400 chargers failed basic safety tests, in which high voltages are applied to the third-party chargers to see if the items could handle the surge in electricity -- an essential requirement of any charger. 

The joint US-UK research comes just a few weeks after computer giant Apple conducted another study to test chargers which connect to their iPhones and laptops; that company found that 90% Apple chargers sold on Amazon were dangerous. 

Since the release of the report, Amazon has attempted to tackle the issue, much like their Chinese counterpart Ali Baba banning the sale of its dangerous and counterfeit items, but it is an uphill battle with the counterfeiters. 

The consumer help group released some tips for buyers of the items, firstly it says that people must make sure the plugs connect correctly, if they do not it is the first negative sign. 

It adds the objects should have the appropriate Commission logos printed on them, but in reality, this means nothing as boxes and items often have these tags put on them straight out of the factory. 

 Local Counterfeit Situation 

The situation for many of the major mobile phone manufacturers selling in Iran is more complicated as the secondary charger and cables market is awash with fake and low-quality items.

 A walk around the bazaar area in central Tehran and one can see many fakes on sale, including carbon copies of Apple, Samsung, HTC mobile phones at 1/5 the price of the original. 

Iran has a poor record in dealing with counterfeiters as copyright is yet not a concern for many, with logos and brands often adopted by illegal third parties, with little or no consequence.   

Counterfeit items are also a major hurdle for consumers in Iran, as many shops purporting to sell official cables may be unaware that their “official” Apple electronics could be low-quality Chinese fakes. 

Moreover, consumers in Iran, faced with dozens of unknown Chinese brands have a difficult time in deciding which charger or cable to fork out their hard earned earnings to buy, with thousands of brands available in places like Aladdin Shopping Mall, Charsou Mall, and Iran Mobile Center selling items, often with no warranties.

Getting official chargers and cables from Apple resellers is the easiest thing to do for the consumers. The situation locally is not as bad as one may assume as many unauthorized Apple retailers in the country offer the real items, unfortunately for the consumer at an increased price. 

If the consumer would rather not pay for the inflated Apple price, all certified companies have “MFi” (Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) printed on their products. For the full list, these can be found online on Apple’s website. The same logic goes for Samsung and other brands for their products. 

But Iran is not the only one to suffer from this and even in fully regulated markets like Britain the market continues to be flooded by dodgy items. 

 “Sadly, we suspect our work is just skimming the surface, and we urge consumers to be vigilant when buying electrical products online: be wary of deals that look too good to be genuine and search for reviews of the seller before making your purchase,” said Lord Toby Harris, chair of the UK’s National Trading Standards, in a statement.

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