Potentially 'deadly' electrical items sold on online marketplaces including eBay and Amazon, charity warns

27 November 2019

Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay are failing to tackle the sale of potentially 'deadly' items from third-party sellers, a consumer safety charity is warning ahead of Black Friday

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Charity Electrical Safety First tested products found on Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish, including items such as hair straighteners, phone chargers, travel adapters and laser hair removers.

Of the 15 products which were purchased, 14 failed tests against the UK standard.

Failures ranged from minor non-compliance with markings to severe failures posing a risk of electric shock and fire.

During its research, Electrical Safety First found that a single-port charger bought on marketplace Wish came fitted with no protective devices. During testing the product ruptured internally, which could lead to a possible explosion.

Its investigation also found that a laser hair remover purchased from eBay posed a significant risk of electric shock to the user because of access to live parts, while counterfeit GHD hair straighteners were also purchased from Wish and found to pose a potential electric shock risk.

A hairdryer from Wish also ignited when put through a test to restrict the products air flow, while a modelling hair comb purchased from Amazon Marketplace exhibited a fire risk to the user due to a plug that failed to meet UK against safety standards.

Martyn Allen, technical director of Electrical Safety First, says: “No product that fails our tests should be being sold, and it’s very clear that the lack of regulation of online marketplaces – from government or from the sites themselves – is allowing those who sell dangerous goods to make a profit at the expense of consumer safety.

“As well as legislation, properly funded enforcement at ports and airports are necessary to stop these goods from entering the country.

"If you’re buying an electrical item, stick to a reputable retailer whom you trust and if you spot any safety concerns, stop using it and contact the manufacturer. Buyers need to beware.”

A spokesperson from Amazon says: “Safety is a top priority at Amazon. We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and have developed industry-leading tools to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed in our stores. The products have been removed.”

An eBay spokesperson says: “The importance of our customers' safety is paramount. We proactively enforce our product safety policy using block filter algorithms to prevent unsafe products from being listed.

"In addition, our security team continuously patrols our marketplaces and will remove items and take appropriate action against sellers who breach our policies.”

Comments

Top brands make junk also

It's not that much better buying top brands that are claimed to be certified safe, look at all the gadgets that cause problems and batteries that catch fire, most of the top brands are made in China and the same technology comes from China unbranded at a much cheaper price direct sales. They produce for top brands and copy the same technology to sell unbranded, the top brands know it's happening but still get their stuff built there as it's so cheap for them. Just take care what you buy from such places.

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