Twin Cities man burned in mishap involving knock-off iPhone charger

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A Twin Cities man is in the hospital recovering from burns and infection caused by a knock-off iPhone charger, FOX 9 reports.

Tim Tyrrell tells FOX 9 that he turned to eBay to buy a second charger for his iPhone 5, but when he plugged the USB cord into the wall, a "mini explosion" tripped the circuit and he suffered a quarter-sized burn on his hand. The electrical burn led to an infection and three operations to bring it under control, and the man's diabetes has slowed his recovery efforts.

Tyrrell says he purchased the knock-off equipment as a cost saving measure, noting that he paid about $10 for two wall chargers and a car charger, instead of paying $25 for a charger in stores.

Apple reportedly said it is aware of the problems with knock-off chargers, and is offering the company's USB chargers at half-price in exchanged for the illegitimate chargers to get the product off the street.

Meanwhile, Tyrrell told FOX 9 that he expects to have a fourth operation on his hand, and warns consumers of the dangers of making the same mistake he did by buying the knock-off product.

Tyrrell isn't the first Minnesota hurt by a knock-off cell phone product.

Last year, a student at a Rochester middle school suffered burns on his leg after the cellphone he was carrying in his pocket exploded and burned a hole through his pants, the Rochester Post-Bulletin said.

Counterfeit cell phones and products not only can cause bodily injury, they are responsible for huge damages to worldwide economy, the tech blog IT Wire says.

Citing information from the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, IT Wire says 148 million counterfeit or substandard mobile phones were sold worldwide in 2013, mostly in developing countries.

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