Experts warn that online retailers are a “hotbed” for dangerous goods
A coalition of emergency services, consumer advocacy groups, and safety organisations is urging the government to hold internet vendors more accountable for selling harmful goods.
It claims that online markets are a “hotbed” for unsafe electronics, including hairdryers and straighteners that provide an electric shock risk, as well as dangerous toys.
According to the group, Amazon, eBay, Wish, and AliExpress should be held liable for dangerous listings. When notified, each of these retailers removed hazardous listings.
Gaps in the legislation now mean that such marketplaces are not held to the same standards as high-street retailers. Because many transactions are made through third-party suppliers, the website merely facilitates the transaction rather than selling it.
The group wrote in a letter to government ministers that the present quo continues to put consumers in danger.
The National Fire Chiefs Council, London Fire Brigade, Electrical Safety First, the British Toy and Hobby Association, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust are just a few of the organisations that have signed the letter.
Children’s toys that have already been found to fail safety requirements, such as a tiny button or coin batteries that might be reached by a small child and perhaps ingested, are among the problems the group claims it has detected.
Companies accused of failing to meet the group’s expectations were also allowed to react to the accusations. Meanwhile, eBay’s security team claimed it “has done sweeps to identify and remove other listings providing such products, alerted the relevant buyers, and taken appropriate action against the sellers.”
According to the company, its automated filters have prevented millions of hazardous listings from ever coming public.
“We take the safety of all our clients very seriously and work hard to maintain a safe purchasing environment,” AliExpress, a Chinese website, said.
It stressed that it was a third-party online marketplace rather than one that sold things directly, but added that “we have rigorous platform standards that compel all third-party vendors to comply with all applicable local laws and regulations.”