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HomeNewsInvestigation finds ‘dangerous’ electrical goods being sold online in Harrow

Investigation finds ‘dangerous’ electrical goods being sold online in Harrow

An investigation from a consumer safety charity, Electrical Safety First, has found several listings from Harrow, and surrounding areas, of dangerous electrical products for sale online.

Listings from and near Harrow were discovered on Facebook Marketplace and eBay. The products ranged from a hoverboard equipped with an illegal, clove shaped plug which presented a risk of fire and electric shock, to a coffee machine fitted with a non-UK plug, and travel adaptors that posed a risk of electric shock, say the charity.

As a result, Electrical Safety First has contacted Harrow East MP, Bob Blackman, to help close a loophole in which online marketplaces are not adhering to the same laws as High Street retailers, which can expose shoppers to substandard and counterfeit electrical products which may cause fires or electric shocks.

The charity said that MP Bob Blackman has been selected as part of the House of Commons Bill Ballot draw and now has the opportunity to pick a Private Members Bill to take through the House of Commons.

Electrical Safety First is, therefore, urging the MP to adopt its Sale of Goods Online (Safety) Bill that would close the loophole in the law whereby online marketplaces are not responsible for goods sold via their sites by third party sellers.

Electrical Safety First states that upon contacting eBay, the products were swiftly removed for sale.

The Charity say they are yet to receive a response from Meta (Facebook) regarding the findings on its marketplace at the time of contacting press.

Previous investigations conducted by Electrical Safety First have continually highlighted the risks associated with unsafe electrical goods being sold online. Recently, the charity discovered numerous highly dangerous devices, which purported to save consumers money on their energy bills, for sale on eBay.

Testing by the charity revealed the devices lacked safety components which resulted in some exploding under specialised test conditions.

Martyn Allen, Technical Director of Electrical Safety First commented: “Unfortunately, Harrow isn’t an exception to the widespread issue of dangerous electrical goods being sold online. Our investigation shows how local residents in Harrow are being put directly at risk from dangerous goods due to an unjust gap in the law. We urge Bob Blackman to take up our Bill so that people in Harrow, and around the country, can be safer from the dangers of substandard electrical goods sold online”.

An eBay spokesperson said: “We welcome the information provided to us by Electrical Safety First and we have removed these items. We take product safety extremely seriously and our close working relationships with stakeholders, including the Office for Product Safety and Standards and Trading Standards, are an important part of our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe.

“Our Regulatory Portal enables authorities from around the world to remove listings of unsafe products within two hours and as of today, 182 agencies have been onboarded, and more than 32,000 listings removed.

“We also have automatic block filters in place, aimed at preventing unsafe listings. These filters blocked 7.4 million listings in 2021 and are updated on a regular basis. On the rare occasion that an unsafe product does make it onto site, we swiftly remove it and take enforcement action against the seller, which can be in the form of a warning, suspension or ban.”