ELECTRICAL SAFETY WEEK WALES – ONLINE SHOPPING DANGERS

Julie James MS warns that COVID is pushing Welsh consumers away from high street and onto online marketplaces risking dangerous gifts this Christmas

“Concerns around Covid-19 in Wales have led many of us to look and purchase electrical gifts online as opposed to the High Street this Christmas” says Julie.

Electrical Safety Week Wales is 30th November – 6th December this year and research from consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First shows that three in five people in Wales plan to shop online for Christmas.

The Charity is warning Welsh shoppers about the risks of buying electrical goods from online marketplaces this Christmas. The survey suggests almost 3 in 5 (57%) Welsh residents will be shopping from online marketplaces for Christmas this year. These numbers could increase even more if current lockdowns and restrictions are extended.[i]

The majority (58%) of Welsh respondents who are planning to shop from online marketplaces say they’re doing so because they believe these websites to be a safer way of shopping than going to the High Street during the COVID-19 pandemic.[ii] However, Electrical Safety First is concerned consumers are simply replacing one risk with another, as multiple investigations from the Charity have unearthed dangerous electrical products for sale via third parties on these sites.[iii]

Just under a quarter (23%) of those in Wales planning to do Christmas shopping this year intend to buy electrical products to give as gifts[iv] while 59% are planning to buy electrical gifts from online marketplaces.[v] This worries Electrical Safety First, whose investigations have repeatedly found unsafe electricals for sale on sites including Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish.

The Charity is urging consumers to reduce their chances of buying dangerous electricals by sticking to the stores or websites of known manufacturers and retailers such as those found on the high street.

Robert Jervis-Gibbons, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Electrical Safety First, commented: “It is totally understandable that many consumers in Wales are planning do their Christmas shopping online to avoid the high street this year. However, when it comes to electrical goods, it is really important 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. Our proposed legislation – which you can support by signing a petition on the Electrical Safety First website – would force these marketplaces to take active responsibility for the goods sold on their sites. But until this is passed, we must urge caution.”

Electrical Safety First has issued these Top Tips for people who are shopping online, which you can share with your constituents: –

  • Make sure you are buying from a recognisable and reputable supplier, like a manufacturer or retailer you would find on the high street.

 

  • Check the packaging and item carefully – Look for tell-tale signs such as flimsy packaging or low quality printing, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

 

  • All electrical products should have safety certifications on their label if they’re made by a legitimate manufacturer.

 

  • If there is a certification mark on the packaging but not the product, it is likely to be fake.

 

  • If you’ve purchased the product from a UK retailer, check to see whether the appliance has a three-pin UK plug or charger.

If you think an item is not a genuine electrical product – never use it.

[i] Research commissioned by Electrical Safety First and conducted by YouGov surveying 1009 adults in Wales found that 57% of respondents answered ‘From online marketplaces  (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Wish etc.)’ to the question ‘.In which, if any, of the following places do you plan to do any of your Christmas shopping this year? (Please tick all that apply)’

[ii] Above research found that 58% of respondents who plan to do their Christmas shopping online from marketplaces like Amazon and eBay answered It’s a safer way of shopping than going out to the High Street during the Coronavirus (i.e. due to the risk of getting/ spreading the virus)’ to the question ‘ You previously said that you plan to use online marketplaces for some of your Christmas shopping this year.Which, if any, of the following are reasons for this? (Tick all that apply)’

[iii] For more on Electrical Safety First’s work on online marketplaces, visit https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/what-we-do/consumer-campaigns/online-campaigns/hidden-dangers-of-online-marketplaces/

[iv] Above research found that 23% of respondents who are planning to do Christmas shopping this year answered ‘Fairly likely’ or ‘Very likely’ to the question ‘Thinking about any gifts that you might buy for others this Christmas…How likely or unlikely do you think you are to buy any electrical products to give as gifts this Christmas?’’

[v] Above research found that 59% of respondents who are planning to buy electrical products to give as gifts this Christmas answered ‘From online marketplaces (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Wish etc.)’ to the question Thinking about any electronic gifts that you are planning to buy this Christmas…In which, if any, of the following places do you plan to purchase these electrical products? (Please select all that apply)’