A keynote speech by the Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, Kevin Hollinrake MP, at the recent Product Safety Conference from Electrical Safety First, stated his support for the charity’s call for better regulation of online marketplaces.
In multiple investigations, ESF has found potentially lethal electrical goods easily available to purchase through online marketplaces ─ particularly those offered by third-party sellers on websites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Amazon Marketplace.
Mr Hollinrake MP said: “I support Electrical Safety First’s demand for responsibly sourced products and recognise the need to address the major changes we have seen in the retail landscape.
“Following on from the pandemic ─ and as a result of major technological advances – many of us now purchase goods online, from the comfort of our own home. But we need to ensure that consumers can be confident that products bought online are as safe as those bought on the high street.”
ESF has been calling for better regulation of electrical products sold online. Currently, it’s a simple process for third-party sellers to use online marketplaces to sell their goods, which can often be substandard or counterfeit ─ with little or no oversight by the online platform.
Lesley Rudd, CEO at ESF, said: “We have long called for online marketplaces to have the same responsibility and duty of care for consumers, as the high street. This would involve online marketplaces and social media marketplaces being legally required to remove unsafe and recalled products from their platforms, as well as having obligations to verify and educate third-party sellers.”
Ms Rudd said the organisation urges people to reduce the likelihood of buying a potentially lethal electrical item by always using reputable, known manufacturers and retailers.
“We are encouraged by the Minister’s stance and look forward to working with him to make online market places safer, to protect consumers,” she added.