Warning too late on USB chargers: Labor

Authorities have defended the amount of time it took to warn the public about potentially deadly USB phone chargers after a young mother was electrocuted and killed while using one.

Mother-of-two Sheryl Anne Aldeguer was found dead while wearing headphones inside her East Gosford home with burns on her ears and chest after a faulty charger sent a high voltage through her body, Fair Trading NSW say.

Ms Aldeguer, a Filipino national, was found dead by friends on April 23.

NSW opposition spokeswoman for fair trading Tania Mihailuk condemned the authorities for the time it took to notify the public after Ms Aldeguer's death.

“It’s been two months since the tragic death and just under two weeks since the raid at Campsie," she said on Friday.

"The faulty products have potentially been sold to hundreds of consumers who have been put at risk."

Last Friday, Fair Trading raided the stall at Campsie where the Ms Aldeguer was believed to have bought the charger.

Sheryl Aldeguer, pictured with husband Luigi. Picture: Facebook

Sheryl Aldeguer, pictured with husband Luigi. Picture: Facebook

Ms Mihailuk pointed out that $20 billion had been cut from Fair Trading's budget last week, on top of $15 million cut in the past two years. 

"Fair Trading does not have the resources to act quickly enough nor to monitor the market effectively for dodgy goods," she said.

But a spokeswoman for Fair Trading said they were only informed about the fatality in mid-May and have been working hard to gather as much information as possible before alerting the public on Thursday night.

"NSW Fair Trading was notified of this fatality by Ausgrid on 13 May 2014," a spokeswoman said.

"As soon as Fair Trading and police determined that the charger was potentially implicated in the fatality, further investigations were conducted and Fair Trading obtained information from NSW police on Thursday 19 June, regarding advice from friends of the deceased as to where the device had been purchased.

"Fair Trading attended the store and stall in Campsie on Friday 20 June and seized devices and ordered the owner to cease sale of all unapproved articles."

Investigators then had to examine the chargers sold at the stall and interview the supplier via an interpreter.

"The agency takes public protection very seriously and commits appropriate resources accordingly," the spokeswoman said.

It is believed a dodgy $4.95 phone charger sent a high-voltage electrical pulse into Ms Aldeguer's phone, which transferred to the earphones she had connected to a laptop.

The 28-year-old, from the Philippines, was to start work as a theatre nurse at Gosford Hospital within days of her death.

smh.com.au

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