Insurance and Australian Compliance for chargers

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by shiny1, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. shiny1

    shiny1 Member

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    I work at a school and part of my duties is to help out with IT. We need more ipad chargers and the deputy who manages the budget is leaning towards official Apple chargers ($30 each!) because of insurance issues. The idea is that if a fire breaks out and the charger is at fault, then school insurance would cover it. There seems to be a fear that non-official chargers would break policy and so we would be out however much in damages. My common sense says that's understandable, but ridiculous, because chargers sold locally must comply with Australian electrical standards, whatever they are.

    So my goal is to buy multiport chargers and cables for a set of 4 or 5 ipads for the price of just 1 official one, without the need to worry about insurance. The other benefit is that it's 1 plug 5 chargers instead of 1 plug 1 charger. Some classes are still using old buildings that are up to 100 years old, so power points are scarce.

    Can anyone share their opinions or expertise on this matter?
     
  2. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    Whatever the charger is it needs to have the regulatory compliance mark. If it has that then you should be covered for insurance.
     
  3. CQGLHyperion

    CQGLHyperion Member

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    As long as you don't get them from ebay or ali express, and use a reputable local store, I don't see an issue going non-apple.
     
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  4. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    Just buy a Targus charger.
     
  5. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Yes, it's the australian standards it needs to comply with, not apple's whatever-they-have.

    Having said that, just because it is/should be fine, doesn't mean that an insurer won't take any point that it can to try to reduce or avoid paying a claim. Avoiding any possibility of a claim dispute might make it "worth it" in the long run to stump up for "official". IF there was a charger-caused fire and IF the insurer decided to kick up a stink over a "non-official" charger and IF it resulted in proceedings, if the charger was from a reputable source like Targus, then you could join the charger manufacturer and they could fight it out with the insurer. A lot of "ifs" there. I'm very cautious, but I'd go for third party chargers, as long as they've got the right certification and come from a reputable source.
     
  6. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    Insurance companies kick up a stink as soon as you lodge a case, not just because a charger caught fire.
     
  7. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Depends on the insurer, but yes, could be there'll be a barney, just the details will change. (cynical, who, us?)
     
  8. power

    power Member

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    Jaycar are a good source of reliable and compliant chargers.
     
  9. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    If you bought compliant and certified chargers from a retailer like Jaycar, any insurer would have a hard time establishing that you did anything wrong, imo.
     
  10. merlin13

    merlin13 Member

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    So either someone gets a copy of the T's 'n C's of the policy and go right through the fine print, or push the deputy to get The Official Word on this concept from whoever handles the insurance. If they don't want to then make it blindingly obvious to them that Think Of The Money We Could Save If It Turns Out We Don't Actually Need Apple-Badged Item For Insurance Purposes, You Could Give Yourself A Gold Star For The Effort.

    And does't this potentially also open up the tin of wrigglers on any warranty claims if a non-Apple plugpack decides to fry one of the iPods?...

    Quick (helpful?) Suggestion though - being a school, why not "someone" send Apple a "We're a school that uses your products and we're broke. Could you find it in your cold, dark hearts to donate some plugpacks to keep the children indoctrinated to your products?"
     
  11. OP
    OP
    shiny1

    shiny1 Member

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    I spoke with the deputy again and convinced her the obvious, this time with a bit more conviction. She said OK, and I'm going to draft up some figures for next year's tech budget proposal. Score for now! Thanks, guys.
     
  12. Martyn

    Martyn Member

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  13. the3coopers

    the3coopers Member

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    The regulatory compliance mark (RCM) on a device means absolutely NOTHING. Chinese factories will apply any logo, icon or marking that is requested at time of order. The RCM can only be legally applied by the importer who also registers the item together with lodgement of the...
    EDIT to add back what somehow got lost:
    ...electrical safety certification documents that prove the product passed "type testing". The test reports and photographic evidence from the test lab are the first thing called up in an investigation, and if the product supplied varies from the one that was tested and certified, the supplier is in for a world of problems.

    A Charger is a Prescribed/Declared Article classified as "high risk" and requiring a variety of mandatory safety compliance and certifications. So what matters is whether the (Level 3 high-risk) device is compliant with standards AND is REGISTERED on the National Database by the importer or manufacturer - that's what demonstrates "compliance".

    The registration must be done by the importer, so where there is parallel imports there needs to be registration by each importer. This provides the traceability that's required in the event that there is a safety-related event. If there was a fire that was likely caused by an electrical device, the Fire Department has mandatory reporting to the respective state electrical regulator. That's when it gets complicated because the first step is to check if the EESS/ERAC registration is valid, so the fact that (say) a certain Targus charger model has RCM and is registered doesn't count if they are parallel imported.

    Here's the National database https://equipment.erac.gov.au/Registration/EquipmentSearch.aspx?atn=public

    Note that some products are covered by multiple-item approvals, so the search won't necessarily find them. A search by brand and product type (Power Supply or Charger) will generally give a good indication of which importers are doing things properly. When using the search, note the "FIND" button is the magnifying glass icon at the bottom right of the page.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
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  14. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    I think you forgot to finish your sentence there.

    The RCM does mean something, it is at least a start. Yes Chinese companies will print whatever they like on their products, they will even falsify test records and certifications. I've just had to deal with a bunch of transducers that had bogus IEC Ex certificates.

    If you purchase from a reputable Australian supplier, and look for an RCM, you are pretty much there. Sure if you purchase from a shaft and shonky supplier overseas then you are playing russian roulette with what you get.
     
  15. Sunder

    Sunder Member

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    This. I bought a "Samsung" genuine charger at RRP off eBay. The only reason I bought it on eBay and not the Samsung store, was that Samsung was out of stock at the time.

    When I got it, it looked identical to my other genuine one. Compliance marks and all. I used it for a week before I had to unplug it straight after using it. It was burning hot.

    The normal Samsung chargers stop charge when the current gets too high. This one didn't. It just got hot.

    I cracked it open, the insides looked very different from the genuine, and in fact was a death trap. While insulated, low voltage cabling ran within mm of the high voltage side. A bit of heat, a bit of impact, and you've got 240v to your head if you're unlucky. It has happened before.

    The eBay seller first claimed I must have got a faulty one, and offered me an exchange if I sent it back. He claimed he had an electrician do a test and tag on one of each batxh when be got them.

    I declined, saying that test and tags don't mean it is compliant with Australian law, as it wasn't designed safely and test and tag is only a visual inspection. I also said I was sending it to Fair Trading. He then upped the offer, saying he'd send me another one and a refund becausehe needed that one to prove to his supplier he was getting duds.

    Long story short, Fair trading was as useless as a set of tits on a bull, so I sent photos and test results to Samsung directly. They called me within a day, sent me some free kit and asked for the dodgy item. A week later the seller relisted the item with badly photoshopped images, and replaced the word "Genuine" with "Compatible"

    I guess a few lives here and there is worth it if some bloke in regional Queensland can make a few bucks selling knock off chargers.

    But yeah. With the number of dangerous counterfeit chargers floating around these days, eBay is not something you want to mess around with. Not even Australian eBayers selling at full RRP. Doesn't have to be genuine Apple, but don't try to cheap out on this stuff. I'm sure your insurance company doesn't want to pay out a kid's family when they die either.
     
  16. Mathuisella

    Mathuisella Member

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    I designed and build a Power Supply tester for a Computer store, it's crazy how many of these replacement laptop chargers don't meet their sticker ratings :O it's crazy.
     
  17. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    The OP's question was around insurance coverage.

    If the charger features an RCM, fake or not, then the claim can be made that you did everything fair and reasonable to be safe.

    If however there is no RCM, then the insurance company has an easy out.
     
  18. Sunder

    Sunder Member

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    So how would the company prove that a device had no RCM on it, when all the evidence literally went up in flames? I go to Paddy's market, get a $2 charger, fire fighters identify it as the start of the fire, I didn't even check if it had a RCM on it, but I simply tell the insurance investigator "Yes, I checked before I bought it".

    How do they prove otherwise?
     
  19. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    We're talking about OP's place of work, there'll be purchase orders from which they can track the purchase(s).
    In your scenario, they don't need to prove there's no compliance, when you tell them you bought a cheap charger from a market, that'll be good enough.
     
  20. Symon

    Symon Castigat ridendo mores

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    No idea, ask someone in forensics.
     

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