Question for the liability legal types

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jonescg
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Question for the liability legal types

Post by jonescg » Mon, 22 May 2017, 17:45

Hi all,

Are there any members here who are well versed in consumer and liability law? We have a query relating to the installation of basic EV charging infrastructure, and who is liable if it fails. Or more correctly, how far away from it do you need to be before you can be free of litigation Image

Generally when something goes wrong, the victim of the failure will seek to apportion responsibility, usually back onto a supplier and the certified installer (a licensed electrician). If we recommended a particular piece of equipment and the electrician installs it, and it fails, are we responsible?

I don't mind if anybody replies with their 2 cents, but I will take the advice of someone well versed in consumer law more seriously Image
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Richo
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Question for the liability legal types

Post by Richo » Mon, 22 May 2017, 20:53

Well there are a few things to consider here:

1. Who is "we".
    Corporations, businesses, organizations, and the guy off the street will have different liability.

2. Mode of failure will have different implications.
   2.1 Act of god
   2.2 User fault
   2.3 Manufacturer fault
   2.4 Fit for purpose fault

3. Id expect the owner of the infrastructure has some determination in this too.
ie is it at a private business, public/government place, or in Joe's patio.
What level of signage etc are they provided to the end user.

An organisation, such as the AEVA, could make suggestions to others on particular charging types and brands.
But I would emphasize that a disclaimer should go with it such as it is still up to the purchaser of the product to determine fit for purpose with the manufacturer as "we" cannot know all aspects of their situation as the AEVA is just a guide and our purpose is awareness and general advice.
The AEVA is a collection of people so really there is no ONE person that has the "right" to issue consumer advice that holds the AEVA as a whole responsible.

To me it seems you are missing the "owner" of the equipment.
In a lot of cases this is where the buck will stop.

Take this as 10c worth as I'm not a solicitor in consumer law.
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jonescg
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Question for the liability legal types

Post by jonescg » Mon, 22 May 2017, 23:40

A worst case scenario would be the roadhouse burns down after an EV plugs into the socket we supply them with. The roadhouse owner will blame in the following order:

1. The EV owner; for using a piece of equipment as supplied, for its intended purpose.
2. The electrician; for doing a poor job of installing and certifying the equipment
3. The manufacturer; for making a product which didn't perform to specification (i.e. not burn up)
4. The party who supplied the equipment.   This is where we, the AEVA would sit.

I think it's an extremely unlikely event, and if it ever made it this far I'd be surprised. But we aren't insured for such things because that's not what we normally do.

We have a selection of printed material we offer up to businesses and information centres who are interested in installing some charging equipment, and we do have the disclaimer concerning general advice.
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Richo
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Question for the liability legal types

Post by Richo » Tue, 23 May 2017, 01:50

Ah there is also the issue of where such a plug came from.
It is usually the importers responsibility to have it certified for use in Australia.
Just because something is, or claims to be, certified overseas doesn't mean it will comply in Australia.
Usually for electric plugs, specifically, there is a safety certificate.
For example if you grab a kettle cord (IEC to mains) it should have 3 certificates for it.
One for the IEC connector, one for the cable and one for the mains plug.
Usually these are identified as an "N" number eg N123456

Without an in date, yep they only last a few years, certificate you are up SH^t creek.
The manufacturer should be able to supply these.

If you sold a plug in Australia without compliance and the roadhouse burnt down then the blame wouldn't even get to the overseas manufacturer.
It would get stuck with the importer eg you.
From memory I believe for individuals it's like a $30k fine + jail (up to 8 years)
Corporations just get a fine of ~$300k no jail.

This is the same for most electronics except with the c-tick / RCM.
The importer is liable.

Don't know if that clears it up for you or makes it muddier... Image
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