Counselor

Supplier Recalls Mobile Chargers

Supplier firm AP Specialties (asi/30208) recalled about 172,000 mobile power bank chargers in late November. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and AP Specialties said that when the items are being charged or being used to charge a mobile device, they can overheat and cause a fire hazard.

“AP Specialties is recalling certain power banks sold after November 1, 2013, due to the potential for the device to overheat while charging or while being used to charge another device possibly causing the device to melt or cause a fire,” the company wrote in a note on its website. “There have been no reports of injury as a result of their use of the power banks under recall.”

AP Specialties told Counselor, though, that it had received three reports of the products overheating and it decided to approach the CPSC with a recall plan. “We’re all thinking a lot about safety these days and acting quickly when something comes up,” said Aaron Koenig, vice president of AP Specialties. “We’ve been contacting all of our customers about this and trying to make people aware that they should get the products back to us. We want to make sure people stay safe.”

The recalled chargers were given out as promotional items at meetings, trade shows and conventions between November 2013 and August 2014. “The unit is rectangular in shape and measures approximately 3.6 inches long by 1 inch high by 1 inch wide,” wrote the CPSC in its announcement of the recall. “It has a white top and the sides are either black, dark blue, lime green, light blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white or yellow. On the white top of the charger in black letters are ”OUT DC5V” and “IN DC5V”. Units with a period after the lettering – reading “OUT DC5V.” – are not involved in this recall. The name and/or logo of the organization that gave away the charger as a promotional item appears on the side of the power bank.”

Mobile charging products that have been sold at retail and given away as promotional products have been heavily scrutinized by the CPSC in recent months. In October, supplier firm Tectron International (asi/90699) recalled about 55,000 USB charging cables due to a fire hazard. Prior to that, in July industry supplier Jetline (asi/63344) recalled about 31,000 mobile power adapters because of a possibility they could overheat. And, in April nearly 100,000 mobile phone chargers sold at retailer Five Below were recalled after complaints of melted parts, leaking batteries and fire.

In this latest recall, the CPSC said consumers should immediately stop using the charger and contact AP Specialties for a replacement. AP Specialties has set up a specific web page at www.powerbankrecall.com for more information, but ultimately the company said it is making some changes when it comes to sourcing mobile charger products.

“The batteries inside tend to cause the problems if they’re not of a high enough quality,” said Koenig. “They need to be tested and good quality, and we’re taking more steps now to ensure that. We learned a lot about safety from this, and we’re improving our products and how we distribute them as a result.”– AC