Border Force swoops on counterfeit resellers

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Border Force swoops on counterfeit resellers

Dodgy resellers could face big fines and even jail time after raids uncovered thousands of unapproved and counterfeit products.

NSW Fair Trading said it had seized more than 10,000 items at one location, including “unapproved and potentially dangerous” USB phone chargers.

Some of these chargers were counterfeits of Apple, LG, Samsung, Huawei and Motorola, while others were not branded but styled on a branded product.

Fair Trading said that other items were labeled with false approval numbers.

The regulator said it had also seized counterfeit mobile device batteries, leads and accessories from the site.

At another premises, the execution of a search warrant led to the seizure of hundreds of chargers, cables and adapters, as well as mobile device batteries that had counterfeit Apple and Samsung logos.

The raids were initiated after the Australian Border Force intercepted a shipment of suspected counterfeit USB phone chargers earlier this year and referred the matter to Fair Trading to check compliance with electrical safety standards.

The shipment was abandoned by the importer, who is now under investigation by Fair Trading, according to the regulator.

It is illegal under the Australian Consumer Law to supply goods that do not comply with safety standards. The maximum penalty is $1.1 million for a company and $220,000 for an individual.

It is also an offence under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act to sell unapproved electrical articles. Individuals caught doing so can be jailed for two years and fined $55,000, while companies can be penalised up to $550,000.

Commissioner Rod Stowe said some of the chargers in the shipment intercepted by the Australian Border Force had inferior components and circuitry.

"Retailers should not be selling unapproved products and consumers should avoid buying them by being careful in their purchases,” he said.

“Avoid the cheap deal – there is a reason it is cheap. Cheap and unapproved electrical products pose a serious health hazard and are a false economy."

Stowe said inspections at stores and markets would continue.

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