Retailer to recall unlicensed AC adaptors

Company allegedly sold devices with fake safety marks; Spring investigating complaint

Spring Singapore is investigating a local gadget retailer's alleged infringement of safety regulations, after customers complained about identical safety marks that were found on different models of AC adaptors sold by the shop.

The retailer, PassionGadgets, sold the adaptors together with electric scooters. It has been instructed by Spring to recall the unregistered adaptors, the regulatory body for consumer product safety and weights and measures told The Straits Times on Friday.

PassionGadgets is owned by a company called iPassion Group.

"We wish to highlight that controlled goods, such as adaptors, need to be registered and affixed with the safety mark before they can be sold in the market," a Spring Singapore spokesman said.

A product's safety mark - containing an eight-digit registration number unique to the product - can be found on the body of the product or on the product's packaging.

Examples of such products include IT accessories, electrical kitchen appliances and gas appliances.

Some consumers such as sales assistant Tan Hong Tat, who bought an e-scooter from PassionGadgets, are worried about the fake safety marks. "Putting safety marks on unlicensed adaptors is (akin to) cheating customers and isn't safe," said Mr Tan, 32.

He added that the adaptor which came with his e-scooter did not have a safety mark. "I tried to contact PassionGadgets, but I couldn't get through to them. My scooter battery has no more power but I don't dare to use the adaptor now."

PassionGadgets did not reply to queries by press time.

Assistant Professor Pritam Das from the National University of Singapore's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering stressed the importance of having adaptors comply with safety specifications. "The current that the battery receives has to be limited or the battery will overheat and can explode. The chemical content of the battery will spread and come in contact with human bodies, which can be life-threatening," said Prof Pritam.

Gadgets catching fire have been in the news recently.

On July 6, the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the United States announced the recall of more than half-a-million hoverboards after scores of incidents in which the two-wheeled personal transporters erupted in flames.

Ms Kelita Yeo, marketing executive at electric scooter distributor Falcon PEV, believes complying with safety requirements is important in order to sell products here.

She said: "We put in all (our) effort to submit relevant documents for Spring's approvals as we believe in giving our customers the confidence in buying from us."

Retailers who supply unregistered controlled goods - such as AC adaptors - can be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2016, with the headline 'Retailer to recall unlicensed AC adaptors'. Print Edition | Subscribe