Avoid electronics from online marketplace sellers this Christmas, charity warns

Christmas shoppers turning to the internet should stick with reputable websites of known retailers instead of third-party sellers on online marketplaces when buying electronics, a safety charity has warned.

Electrical Safety First is concerned even more consumers could end up buying a dangerous electrical product that presents a fire risk from online marketplaces, due to people spending more time at home during the pandemic.

According to a survey of 3,002 adults carried out by the charity, 58% of Britons will be shopping on online marketplaces for Christmas this year, with more than half (53%) of them saying they will be using these sites more than in previous years.

One in five of those planning to do Christmas shopping this year said they intend to buy electrical products to give as gifts – of these, 57% revealed they plan to buy electrical gifts from online marketplaces.

“With Covid-19 at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment, it is understandable that many consumers are planning to shop online for Christmas gifts to avoid the high street this year,” said Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First.

“We would urge people purchasing electrical products to use the stores or websites of known manufacturers and retailers such as those found on the high street, rather than resorting to third party sellers on online marketplaces.

“Our investigations have found some extremely dangerous items for sale on these platforms and substandard or counterfeit products are often very difficult to spot to the untrained eye.

“We have proposed legislation which, if passed, would force online marketplaces to take responsibility for the safety of the goods sold on them and allow consumers to shop in good faith but until that happens we urge caution.”

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