Shameful lack of measures in place to prevent listings of recalled products investigation finds

29 January 2020

Listings of Hotpoint washing machines with recalled model numbers easily uploaded to eBay and Facebook Marketplace

Online marketplaces have no obvious process in place to prevent a recalled product from being listed a new investigation reveals.

Two listings of Hotpoint washing machines were posted on eBay and Facebook Marketplace, including model numbers linked to the nationwide recall in the listing’s title, by the consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First, to test the mechanisms in place on these sites in the event a recalled machine is accidentally listed for sale.

The Charity found absolutely no features in place during the listing process to prevent a potentially fire-risk recalled machine being posted for sale.

The process of listing an item on both eBay and Facebook Marketplace was shockingly easy with neither model number nor serial number a mandatory requirement at any stage in the process.

Even more concerning was the way the listings went undetected. A listing on eBay’s website went undetected for 3 and a half days at which point it was removed by eBay, notifying the seller’s account that the product may be subject to a national recall.

Shamefully the listing on Facebook Marketplace went completely undetected for a week, at which point the Charity deactivated the listing itself.

The model number WMXTF 742P UK.M was used in the description of a listing on eBay alongside the Hotpoint brand name. The model number WMAQC 741P UK as well as the Hotpoint brand name was used in the title of the listing for Facebook Marketplace also.

Both model numbers are part of the widespread recall of over half a million fire-risk washing machines.

The Charity believes model and serial numbers should be made mandatory requirements when listing white goods to ensure third party sellers do not unknowingly list recalled items for sale.

Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First commented: “The shameful lack of measures in place to prevent recalled products being listed online demonstrates marketplaces aren’t even taking some of the most basic steps to protect consumers.

We hear time and time again how these sites have algorithms in place to prevent dangerous listings going live yet our investigation proves that some of the most simplistic checks aren’t in place. Model numbers and serial numbers must be made a mandatory requirement when listing white goods to ensure recalled products aren’t for sale on these sites.

Marketplaces cannot wash their hands of responsibility for products sold on their sites. If you are happy to take money from consumers you must take proactive measures to protect them in the process.”

The Charity’s investigation comes after it found tumble dryers subject to a separate Whirlpool recall for sale via online marketplaces only last year.

Just last month Electrical Safety First launched its own Google Chrome Plug in “Check It Out” which warns consumers shopping on eBay and Amazon Marketplace when they are purchasing from a third party seller.

The Charity hopes the plug in will make consumers think twice when purchasing from third party sellers via online marketplaces.

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Editors’ Notes:

  • Electrical Safety First is a UK Charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. More information can be found at
  • The Facebook Marketplace listing was posted on 17.01.2020 at 09:53am and remained live until the 24.01.2020 when it was deactivated by Electrical Safety First willingly, at 9:53am. The listing went completely undetected for the duration of it’s listing.
  • The eBay listing was posted on 17.01.2020 at 09:40am and removed by eBay on 20.01.2020 at 09:31am with a notification via email detailing concerns the product may be subject to a recall notice. The listing was live for approximately 3 days and 12 hours before being removed by eBay.
  • Consumers shopping eBay and Amazon Marketplace can download the Charity’s ‘Check It Out’ tool at the following link:


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