Health

Why You Shouldn't Use Off-Brand iPhone Chargers

December 2nd 2016

By:
Lucy Tiven

Not all phone chargers are created equal.

woman-looking-at-phone

It can be tempting to order a cheap knock-off iPhone charger online rather than forking $20 to $30 over to Apple.

But sticker shock from a certified charger is nothing compared to the risks of counterfeits — which quite literarily can cause electrical shocks, a U.K. consumer safety group reported.

phone charger

More than 99 percent of off-brand phone chargers failed tests.

Those are the results of basic safety tests conducted on 400 counterfeit Apple chargers purchased online from the U.S., Canada, Colombia, China, Thailand, and Australia by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, a U.K. nonprofit:

"Several tests were conducted, including an electrical strength test in which high voltages are applied to the units to see how much voltage will flow between the input and output. If the current is above the threshold the unit is determined to have insufficient isolation with potential for electric shock. Only three of the 400 passed."

"Criminals across the globe are using online platforms to lure you in with cheap deals for fake items, many of which are dangerous and have been known to overheat and cause house fires," Lord Toby Harris, chair of British National Trading Standards, said in a statement.

Apple filed a lawsuit last month against Mobile Star LLC, alleging that it sold counterfeit chargers as authentic Apple products.

Apple's suit argued that the chargers could cause fires:

"Consistent with consumers' experiences with and comments about counterfeit power products, the counterfeit Apple power products that Amazon.com sourced from Mobile Star pose a danger to consumer safety. Among other things, they lack adequate insulation and/or have inadequate spacing between low voltage and high voltage circuits, creating risks of overheating, fire, and electrical shock."

You can learn how to tell if your charger is a phony in a tutorial on CNET.

[h/t Gizmodo]