A government agency warned consumers yesterday that there are no electric hot-water bags on the market that have passed government inspection.
The warning came after the Consumer Protection Commission received a complaint from an 86-year-old man that the back of his neck and his left arm were scalded last Friday night when his electric hot-water bag burst suddenly. At the time, the bag was plugged into an outlet near his desk, the man, surnamed Lee, reported.
Lee told a press conference yesterday that he bought the electric hot-water bag last year at a night market for NT$150, but did not have a receipt for his purchase therefore he had no hopes of being compensated. He however expressed the wish that there will be no other victims of this type of accident.
"When the water spurts from the bag it is very hot," Lee said. It could be particularly dangerous to babies, and also if the water spurts into a person's eyes it could cause blindness."
With the temperature forecast to dip to single-digit figures in some areas this week, the CPC warned consumers not to use or purchase electric heating appliances that do not carry the safety stamp issued by the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection.
CPC Consumer Ombudsman Wu Cheng-hsueh stressed that at the moment, no electric hot-water bags have been given this safety stamp and consumers should not buy this product.
On August 15 this year, the standards bureau announced that electric hot-water bags, electric blankets, electric quilts and other personal electric heating appliances that have been imported or would be produced after November 1, 2005 must first be inspected and given the safety stamp before they could be sold on the local market.
According to the CPC, the safety stamp symbol is a swallow-tailed arrow that runs through a capital C.
Wu added that if manufacturers and importers sell the above-mentioned electric appliances on the market without prior government inspection, those manufacturers or importers could face a fine of between NT$0.2 million and NT$2 million.
Wu also explained that even if the new regulations do not apply to electric heating appliances produced or imported before November 1, manufacturers and importers still have to take responsibility to compensate anyone who gets hurt while using the products.