Online retailer GrabOne Limited has copped a $40,000 fine for selling a bubble machine that gave a woman an electric shock.

At the North Shore District Court today GrabOne pleaded guilty to charges under the Electricity Act and the Electricity (Safety) regulations after continuing to sell the bubble machine after a woman informed them she suffered an electric shock.

WorkSafe New Zealand said Auckland woman Sheree Kennedy bought one the machines through GrabOne and received an electric shock which threw her backwards and left her with aches in her arm and chest muscles for several days.

Ms Kennedy complained to both GrabOne and the wholesaler that supplied the machine, Kmall Limited.


GrabOne requested that the machine be sent back for testing but did not take any steps to withdraw the product or notify customers of the risk until Energy Safety intervened.

Energy Safety found the machine had no voltage markings, it was not earthed and had only basic insulation of exposed metal parts.

Spokesman for WorkSafe New Zealand Brett Murray said the 439 bubble machines GrabOne sold were unsafe.

"These machines were simply unsafe. They did not provide adequate protection from contact with live parts ? and there was little separation between the water used to make bubbles and live electrical components.

"This is the first time an online marketplace has been charged as a party to this type of offending. They are more than just a sales venue and are responsible for the actions of merchants that use them.

"GrabOne had a duty to ensure they were safe to use."

Tracey Moerkerk, Operations Director for GrabOne, said in a statement: "We acknowledged from the beginning we got this wrong which is why we pleaded guilty. While the situation is highly regrettable we are confident we have improved our systems so that this situation would not happen again."