Consumer protectionProducts from online marketplaces fail to comply with safety standards

Today, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) published the results from a safety test for products bought from online marketplaces, such as Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and Wish. According to the results, the majority of the examined products failed the safety tests and did not comply with EU product safety standards.

On behalf of six consumer groups from the BEUC network from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom, International Consumer Research & Testing (ICRT) conducted the product safety tests. Some products simply required a visual inspection to declare them unsafe, such as toys with loose components that are unsuitable for small children. Lab tests were conducted to test products like smoke detectors or Christmas tree lights.

These are further details:

  • 66 percent of a total of 250 tested products failed the safety test – including electrical goods, toys, cosmetics among other products.

  • In a test of 12 products in each category of USB chargers, travel adaptors, and power banks, 75 percent failed electrical safety tests, as they could overheat or give electrical shocks.

  • Out of 29 plastic toys for babies and children, nine toys violated the legal chemical limits for phthalates, which is used to make toys soft and supple. Some toys even contained chemical levels of up to 200 times over the maximum allowed.

  • 14 out of 16 children's clothing pieces, such as hoodies, infringed EU safety rules, as their cords were too long or present in places where they are not allowed to be and thus increased risks of entanglement and suffocation.

  • All of the seven tested carbon monoxide detectors did not strike alarm for deadly amounts of the gas and four of them were too quiet. All of the four tested smoke alarms did not detect smoke from burning wood, cotton or plastic.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, said: “Consumer group tests show that shopping online isn’t as safe as in the offline world. The simple reason is that marketplaces fail to prevent dangerous products from appearing on their sites. If you take smoke detectors that can’t detect smoke as an example, it’s easy to see how this might have disastrous consequences. Consumer groups have repeatedly flagged unsafe products after which marketplaces have taken the listing down. But this can’t become a modus operandi to keep consumers safe, as similar or new dangerous products reappear.”

Source: BEUC

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