Dangerous electrical products found for sale in Preston prompt plea to regulate online marketplaces
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An investigation by the charity Electrical Safety First has discovered dangerous and non-compliant electrical items for sale online by sellers within a 20km radius of Preston.
Following this, the charity issued an urgent plea to Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick to take up a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons to regulate online marketplaces, such as eBay and Amazon, and make them responsible for the safety of goods sold via their platforms, as current gaps in the law mean they are not.Electrical Safety First investigated both Facebook Marketplace and eBay as part of its investigation, identifying six listings in and around Preston that failed to meet product safety standards in the UK.Travel adaptors were found risking exposing the user to live parts and electric shock whilst beauty appliances such as hair dryers were found for sale with EU plugs.
Other products found by the charity included plug-in insect repellers and baby bottle warmers with non UK plugs.
Sir Mark Hendrick has been selected as part of the House of Commons Bill Ballot draw, which allows a handful of MP to pick a Private Members Bill to take through the House of Commons.
Electrical Safety First urged 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.
Martyn Allen, Technical Director of Electrical Safety First commented: “Unfortunately, Preston isn’t an exception to the widespread issue of dangerous electrical goods being sold online. Our investigation shows how local residents in Preston are being put directly at risk from dangerous goods due to an unjust gap in the law. We urge Sir Mark Hendrick to take up our Bill so that people in Preston, and around the country, can be safer from the dangers of substandard electrical goods sold online”.
However, Sir Mark Hendrick presented his Private Members Bill yesterday (June 15) and he did not champion this cause.
Electrical Safety First reported the products to both eBay and Facebook Marketplace, and on contacting eBay, the products were swiftly removed for sale.
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.”
The charity has received no response from Meta (Facebook) regarding its findings.