Consumers looking to buy clippers to cut their hair at home during lockdown have been warned about the dangers of dodgy goods sold by third parties through online marketplaces.
Electrical Safety First visually assessed the listings of 15 electrical items on Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish.com as part of a snapshot investigation.
Mains powered hair clippers and electric nail files were found to be frequently advertised without UK plugs, instead being sold with dangerously poor quality travel adaptors for permanent use, which risk severe electric shock or fire, the charity said.
They also uncovered home hair removal kits being sold with plugs that are illegal for sale in the UK, using smaller sized plugs that could potentially expose a person to contact with the mains power supply when plugging the product in.
According to a survey of 2009 people, almost 40% revealed they have already purchased, or are considering purchasing, an electrical beauty item such as hair clippers or hair remover kits from an online marketplace while salons are closed.
Electrical Safety First is renewing calls for the Government to regulate online marketplaces.
“At a time where we’re all expected to spend longer indoors it is more important than ever the products coming into our homes are safe,” said Martyn Allen, technical director for the charity.
“What we have found is an example of third party sellers putting consumers at risk through products that are of particular interest at this time.
“We would urge consumers to only buy electrical items from reputable retailers and for the Government to give serious thought to better regulating online marketplaces.”
Auction site eBay removed the items once they were reported, saying its filters automatically blocked four million listings from entering the marketplace on product safety grounds between March 2019 and March 2020.
“The safety of eBay users is our priority and we work with organisations around the world including the EU market surveillance authorities and Trading Standards,” a spokesman said.
“If any of these authorities informs us that a product is dangerous, we ban it on all our marketplaces globally and inform and educate sellers on the ban.”
Amazon responded: “We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and have developed industry-leading tools to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed in our stores.”
Wish.com said all merchants on its site are “required to adhere to local laws and safety standards wherever their goods are sold”.
“In the rare instance where a product falls below those standards and sufficient evidence is provided, we take the appropriate action to remove the items as swiftly as possible,” a spokesman commented.
“In some cases, we also apply sanctions to merchants who have intentionally circumvented our policies and safety standards.”