Online marketplaces flooded with unsafe electrical appliances
Online marketplaces are rife with unsafe electrical appliances – many appliances are poorly designed, unsafe products that could cause electric shocks or start fire. Please see below advise when looking to purchase electrical items online.
Dos and don’ts of online shopping
Do check the price – If it’s a bargain and the price is too good be true, then it probably is!
Don’t trust images – Seeing is not believing. Do not trust that the image displayed on the advert is a true representation of the product you will receive.
Do look for contact details – If the seller’s contact details are not supplied, or there is a just a PO Box, be wary; many fake electrical goods are manufactured overseas, where they will not be safety tested and are produced as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Don’t rely on reviews – Previous happy customers may not be aware they have purchased a substandard or counterfeit item. Reviews will be based on the product working at one point in time, rather than the potential safety risks it poses.
Do buy from a reputable retailer – by buying your electrical products from reputable retailers, or directly from the manufacturer, you can be assured you’re buying the real thing.
How to check if you’ve bought a fake:
Inspect the packaging and item carefully. Look out for the tell-tale signs of flimsy packaging and substandard printing, such as spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Compare your item to an online image from a trusted, high street retailer.
Look for a legitimate safety certification label. All electrical products will have one or more safety certifications on their label if made by a legitimate manufacturer. If the certification mark is present only on the packaging, but not on the product itself, there’s a good chance the product is fake.
Make sure everything that should be there is there. Fake products may not include supplementary materials such as a manual or a product registration card or even all the parts!
Check the plug. If you’ve purchased your product from a UK retailer, look to see whether the appliance has a three-pin UK plug or charger.
Trust your instinct. If you are still uncertain about your product for any reason, you’re probably right to be wary. Visit the high street to compare your product to those on sale in store; if your item varies in any way do not use it.
If you suspect you have purchased a fake, stop using it immediately. Report it to Trading Standards so that they can take action against the seller; selling fake products is illegal and puts people’s lives at risk.
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