SAUDI ARABIA

Public warned against leaving cell phones plugged overnight

January 27, 2018
Leaving mobile chargers plugged for a long time may lead them to explode and trigger house fires.
Leaving mobile chargers plugged for a long time may lead them to explode and trigger house fires.

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Despite repeated warnings on the dangers fake mobile phone chargers pose to lives and property, local markets are replete with products that threaten consumer safety.

Recent statistics point to an increase in fires caused by poor quality cell phone chargers sold in the market.

Last week, inspection teams from the Ministry of Commerce and Investment with the support of security teams confiscated 2,075,000 counterfeit electronic and electrical products including mobile chargers and earphones worth tens of millions of riyals from the markets of Riyadh, according to Al-Bilad newspaper.

The officials also seized ready-made stickers of well-known international brands, the paper said.

Almost all counterfeit chargers are ticking bombs with the potential to set homes on fire if left unattended and the ministry has issued repeated warnings to consumers against the dangers of buying such products.

The ministry organizes periodic inspection rounds to ensure that all products in the local markets conform to standards and bring violators to book in order to protect consumers from harmful trade practices.

According to technical expert Ahmad Al-Yafi, although good quality chargers have protection chips that cut off supply when the devices are fully charged, there are lots of fake products in the market that do not have these safeguards and may explode due to overheating if left plugged for long durations.

He advised consumers not to buy cheap chargers because they could cause great damage. "The genuine chargers, despite their high prices, are better and safer than the counterfeit ones, which could damage the devices themselves, in addition to causing fires," Al-Yafi said.

"Most people want their phones fully charged when they leave home. These people customarily keep their devices plugged as soon as they return home and leave them so even during sleep. This is a dangerous practice as an overheated battery may explode, causing catastrophes in the family," he said.

Ahmed Al-Shaiki agreed and said these wrong habits are common among people who are not heedful of the harms they pose to themselves and others.

"Mobile phones have become an essential part of life and people tend to charge them not only at home, but in offices, cafes, restaurants or any other place because everyone wants to be assured that their phone is fully charged when they are on the move," Al-Shaiki said.

Mubarak Al-Harbi, who works in mobile repair shop, advised consumers against being stingy when buying batteries for mobile phones. "Poor and counterfeit batteries may cause fires if left plugged for long periods," he said, adding that the Commerce Ministry carries out inspection raids on mobile repair shops time to time to prevent the use of counterfeit parts.

Emad Mahmoud, an expert in electrical and electronics technology, also said leaving mobile chargers plugged for a long time might lead them to explode and trigger house fires. The Civil Defense has repeatedly warned the public against leaving mobile phones and other smart devices plugged in overnight.

Col. Saeed Al-Sarhan, spokesman for the Directorate of Civil Defense in Makkah province, spoke about the dangers of using fake mobile phone chargers and leaving them plugged overnight while everyone in the home is asleep.

He said many of these products do not meet the standards and specifications and therefore pose great risks to the consumer.


January 27, 2018
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