66% of products from non-EU shops fail safety tests
Two thirds of products bought from the online marketplaces AliExpress, Wish, LightInTheBox, eBay and Amazon have failed safety tests. This is the result of extensive research done by six European consumers’ associations.
For over a year, the European consumers’ associations Which (The United Kingdom), Stiftung Warentest (Germany), Altroconsumo (Italy), Consumentenbond (The Netherlands), Test Aankoop (Belgium) and Forbrugerrådet Tænk (Denmark) ordered a total of 250 products.
They placed these orders at the popular online marketplaces AliExpress, Wish, LightInTheBox, eBay and Amazon, to see how safe the products really are. Out of 250 products examined, 165 of them (66 percent) didn’t pass relevant safety tests.
The organizations put 18 different product types through different kinds of sets. And these have led to some shocking results. For example, 7 out of 7 carbon monoxide alarms and 11 out of 12 travel adaptors led to a safety test failure.
7 out of 7 carbon monoxide alarms didn’t pass the safety test.
Safety test fails
UK consumers’ association Which tested smoke and CO alarms that couldn’t detect smoke or carbon monoxide, Christmas lights that could give customers an electric shock, USB chargers and travel adaptors that could cause a fire and a power bank that melted during testing. And the other associations found teeth-whitening products with too much hydrogen peroxide, cosmetics sold without their ingredients listed and kids’ clothes with choke hazards.
Currently, online marketplaces aren’t responsible for the safety of the items sold through their platform. They also aren’t responsible for removing unsafe products from sales or for informing customers when something goes wrong with a products.
These four things needs to change
The European consumers’ associations want things to change, to make sure consumers are protected enough when they are buying from these online marketplaces. For starters, they want online marketplaces to make sure products offered on their sites are safe. They also want them to clarify the steps online marketplaces need to take when unsafe products are identified. Also, enforcement officers should have the appropriate powers, resources, investigatory skills and intelligence to police online marketplaces and the supply networks. Lastly, consumers’ associations want greater transparency obligations so it’s clear for consumers who they are buying from.