Release date: 18 May 2021
West Sussex Trading Standards Officers are calling for online marketplace platforms to take more responsibility for the products they sell after dangerous products were found for sale on several sites.
As part of a Trading Standards investigation, officers purchased phone and tablet chargers, food blenders, teething rings for babies, and Christmas lights from a range of online platforms.
Safety testing confirmed that 80 per cent of the products were dangerous. Some even posed a risk of electric shock or choking, and the consequences for consumers could have been fatal.
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Online marketplaces currently have very limited responsibilities for product safety and they don’t have to make any checks on the products they allow to be advertised. The only time they are legally obliged to take action is when a product is reported to them as being unsafe by Trading Standards.
“Many of the products appearing on these sites are supplied directly from abroad with no UK company involved. This makes it incredibly difficult for us to hold them to account.
“The results of our work and our concerns have been forwarded to the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) who are reviewing the whole enforcement regime of product safety and we hope that this review will see changes made in this area.”
Steve Read, West Sussex County Council Director for Environment and Public Protection, said: “We know throughout the pandemic more and more of our residents have been shopping online, particularly on marketplace sites. These findings are incredibly worrying.
“The products Trading Standards Officers bought were available to consumers who could have purchased them thinking they were safe when this is clearly not the case.
“I would urge residents to only purchase electrical products and children’s toys from local stores or well-known high street brands.”
Anyone who feels they have purchased an unsafe product online should contact Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 08082231133 or you can report an incident or issue to Trading Standards online.