Up to NINETY per cent of electrical products from online shops may not meet safety standards, experts say
BRITS could be in for a shocking surprise this Christmas – as experts warn up to nine in 10 budget electrical products from online shops may not meet safety standards when tested.
Experts at Electrical Safety First said the cost-of-living crisis, lack of safety regulations and growing numbers of unsafe, possibly cheap or imported items for sale are creating a “perfect storm” for danger.
Research of 2,000 adults also found one in 10 have been shocked or seen sparks that could start a house fire from an electrical item they have bought online.
And 73 per cent are unaware online marketplaces are not required to ensure the safety of electrical products they list for sale.
Most recent figures reported by ESF in 2019, following testing of 15 random electrical items sourced online, found 93 per cent didn’t meet essential UK-based safety criteria and could not be awarded the appropriate certification.
Lesley Rudd, chief executive, said: “This Christmas could see a perfect storm hit Britain’s hard-up festive shoppers as our attempts to save money could leave us vulnerable to dangerous goods.
“Sales of electrical products through online marketplaces has grown significantly since 2019.
“All of these enter the UK market untested from suppliers who are not checked by the marketplace operators.
“The best gift the Government could give consumers this holiday season is ensuring the safety of online marketplaces so that their Christmas doesn’t go up in smoke.”
The research also found one in three Brits never check the safety credentials of electrical products before buying, according to research.
The main reasons for failing to look for certification labels or testing to standards are due to trust in the seller and having no concerns about the product.
But 39 per cent admit they would have no idea what they were looking for.
In fact, safety is only an important factor for 50 per cent of respondents when buying electrical goods – behind energy efficiency (51 per cent) and price (75 per cent).
However, since learning that some sellers on online marketplaces aren’t bound to traditional safety laws, 27 per cent will be more careful to look into safety credentials before making a purchase.
And 14 per cent will go as far as avoiding buying any electrical goods from online retailers and dodge the risk entirely.
Lesley Rudd added: “Most UK shoppers don’t realise these sites are under no obligation to ensure the safety of products or claims of their suppliers.
“We know poor quality or fake electrical products are increasingly being offered for sale on these sites.
“While they might look like premium brands, they often contain cheap or faulty components that can overheat and catch fire or deliver an electric shock.
“It may be tempting to save a bit of money, but I’d ask people to consider how they’d feel if someone was electrocuted by a gift they gave them.
“We urge people to prioritise safety – don’t let the recipients of your gifts pay the ultimate price.”
For advice on avoiding dangerous electrical products, go to the ‘Don’t be Electricked’ site.