Doing DIY with dodgy cable could lead to lawsuits
HOMEOWNERS who had dodgy electrical cabling installed in their homes and who refuse to have it removed despite a national recall could have their insurance cover denied if their homes are destroyed by fire caused by perished cabling.
Brisbane compensation law expert Mark O'Connor said reports that many homeowners, aware their homes have dangerous Infinity electrical cables installed but refuse to have it removed, were jeopardising their insurance policies.
They could even be sued if fire broke out and someone was injured or killed in the fire.
Mr O'Connor, a Director of Brisbane law firm Bennett & Philp Lawyers and a compensation law expert, cited media reports claiming more than 3900km of faulty cable was installed in more than 40,000 homes and businesses.
He labelled the recall of the Chinese-made cable a "compensation time bomb" after warnings the cables, which were not tested in Australia, could perish due to poor quality plastic insulation, and cause fires.
More than 2400km of cable is yet to be replaced despite the product recall.
Mr O'Connor said it made no sense for a home owner to refuse to have the dodgy cable removed.
"There's a suspicion that quite a few people may have done their own DIY cabling, which is illegal unless you are a licensed electrician," he said.
"The ACCC is reportedly quoting a big cable supplier as saying one in five people with the cable are refusing to let anyone come and replace it.
"Legally, the electrician who installed the cable is liable to the home owner to replace it, then they can seek indemnity from the supplier. So it doesn't make sense if the home owner won't have it replaced."
Mr O'Connor suspected some people may have done DITY cabling work on their properties and don't want anyone to know about it.
"If their house burns down because of the cable and it's shown they knew of the danger and refused to fix it, an insurer could well deny them insurance cover. Their policy may be void," he said.
In the same scenario, if a fire injured or killed someone, the property owner could face litigation for ignoring the fire risk.
Mr O'Connor said the liability issue was far-reaching and ultimately the retailers selling the cable could find themselves staring at legal action for compensation as electricians look for someone to offset their liability to customers.
Product recall notices seemed to target home and business customers when the real target should be installers- electricians.
"If dodgy cable was bought and installed by electricians then the electrician is liable, even if the electrician did not know about flaws in the product," he said.