Online Shopping and Marketplaces

16 December 2022

Our new research has found 73% of shoppers in Scotland were not aware online marketplaces do not face the same safety regulations as traditional high street retailers. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Multiple investigations by Electrical Safety First have found a range of potentially lethal electrical items easily available on these platforms ─ and over 80% of Scots want the UK Government to address this dangerous omission.

So now we are asking MSPs to sign an open letter, calling on Westminster to regulate the sale of dangerous electricals online.

While shopping online is convenient and easy, it has led to a rapid rise in fake and unsafe goods available, particularly those sold by third-party sellers.

Currently, it’s a simple process  for third-party sellers to use these sites to sell counterfeit and substandard electrical products, as online marketplaces are not recognised as ‘actors’ in the supply chain. Consequently, product safety legislation, such as the Consumer Protection Act 1987, does not apply to them ─ so they have no responsibility for the sale of unsafe goods on their platform. Nor are they required to inform buyers that they have bought potentially dangerous electrical goods. This means thousands of such items are still in constituents’ homes.

The lack of a robust regulatory framework for online marketplaces continues to place consumers at risk on a daily basis. So the charity is urging the UK Government to bring forward legislation to ensure consumers can be confident products are safe, wherever they shop.

We believe online and social media marketplaces should be legally required to remove unsafe and recalled products from their platforms ─ and have an obligation to verify and educate third-party sellers. These measures would improve the safety of shopping online, ensuring that buyers can purchase with confidence, while sellers and online marketplaces are clear on their responsibilities.

Our open letter can be found here.

Please contact to sign it, to help keep your constituents safe!

We have also recently launched a major consumer awareness campaign ─ Don’t be Electricked. It aims to raise consumer awareness of the risks that seemingly every day electrical products ─such as a hairdryer, mobile phone charging cable, or a set of Christmas tree lights – could present if purchased from third-party sellers on online marketplaces.

To find out more about the risks of buying electricals through online marketplaces ─ and what people can do to protect themselves ─ visit the campaign page at Don't Be Electricked | Electrical Safety First. To get this campaign and messages to as wide an audience as possible, we would like to ask you to share our posts on this issue via your social media channels – Twitter,  LinkedIn and Facebook.

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