Cyber Monday – Making Online Marketplaces Safer for Everyone

29 November 2021

Posted on by Penny Walshe

This year, over a third (35%) of UK adults say that they will be buying electrical gifts from online marketplaces, seeing them as a convenient alternative to visiting busy High Streets and shopping centres.

However, due to a lack of regulation, marketplaces are a hotbed for dangerous electrical products sold by third party sellers. The marketplaces themselves have no legal responsibility for ensuring that the products advertised and sold on their sites are safe as they are not subject to the same regulations as traditional retailers. Even when dangerous products have been removed from a marketplace they are frequently re-listed and there is nothing in place to stop the selling of recalled electrical appliances.

The UK Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards recently published its response to a Call for Evidence on Product Safety.  This highlights the consumer risk caused by this lack of regulation and takes a first step towards plugging the gaps in the law that expose consumers to potentially dangerous goods. It recommends stronger enforcement and the need to raise consumer awareness of the risks associated with buying from online marketplaces, but falls short of calling for legislative change, although a wider public consultation is expected at some point.

A joint letter signed by Electrical Safety First, Which? and other organisations concerned about consumer safety online, has been sent to Rt Hon Nadine Dorries MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It calls for the Government to introduce measures that will protect consumers who purchase from online marketplaces, protecting them from unsafe products whilst ensuring the UK’s product safety framework is fit for the future.

You can read the letter here:

If you would like to add your voice to our campaign, then please sign our petition and contact your MP to ask them to support us.

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