Are the products you import safe to sell?

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CE markingThe Waltham Forest Guardian reports an eBay seller has been prosecuted for selling dodgy electronic cables, one of which blew all the fuses in the buyer’s house as well as frying his computer hard drive.

In this instance it was a USB cable and power adaptor that were at fault, but I’ve seen many examples including power cables with unsafe plugs and even power cables where the insulation snapped leaving bare wires the first time they were bent.

Did you know that as the importer of a product that you’re responsible for ensuring that it meets all relevant safety standards? Even if the samples you received were tested you should still be retesting actual production runs of products and not assuming that your supplier is delivering what you’re expecting. Just because something has a CE stamp doesn’t mean that it’s passed the relevant safety checks.

Alibaba carries a story along similar lines today, this time looking at how to ensure children’s toys meet the relevant standards. If you’re an importer what steps do you take to ensure that your products are safe?

9 Responses

  1. Nickel testing is the main one for me – any metal item used in jewellery making must comply with the EU legislation on nickel content. It’s £63.85+VAT to get a full Release Reference test done at Sheffield Assay office – fortunately they do home testing swab kits, so I test everything here on arrival and anything borderline gets sent for a full screen.

    No-one’s ever actually been prosecuted for selling non-compliant jewellery or components, but given it’s a fine in the 000s and up to six months in prison, I’d rather not risk being the test case…

  2. .
    My favourite is the 13amp extension cables that have CE on them but get Hot & all limp with the heat….

    Mind you a secondary source of heat for the winter months I suppose!!.

  3. This is one area where I personally think trading standards etc should be a lot more proactive with test purchases etc

  4. ebay claim they do not allow counterfeit goods to be sold through their website yet these very clearly are. What are ebay doing about it as this does nothing to enhance their reputation and stories like this are very likely to hurt sales and taint every seller.

    ebay are very good at “improving” their systems and jacking up their fees and yet when it comes to fakes they seem to lack the will to take action. I wonder why?

  5. I sell Books. Many at way below original price. When I am listing I am regularly told by ebay that this or that could be a fake and it asks me to verify that they are in fact real. More often than not the title is being listed at 99p. No one in their right mind would fake a Book to sell at 99p.

    In fact for some 30 years I not only retailed but Wholesaled(on behalf of the publisher). The stock is unsold wholesale stock from years ago. Yet ebay seems to be convinced that it is a fake. Certainly in all my time as a Bookseller I have not heard of anybody ever copying these books. Even when they were new I cannot remember them being faked.

    But high volume items(and Books are not that high volume-certainly the ones I sell are not high volume) must be a target for the faker. So why is ebay kicking out messages to me rather than chasing those who are far more likely to be selling fakes?

  6. .
    A few years ago this subject came up.

    Germany was the worse as items were coming into the EU with CE preprinted on the packing.

    The problem here is the original sample may well have been of a quality that earned CE.
    The problem was the ongoing replacement stocks were not the same quality as the one tested originally.

  7. I remember reading that article, the individual was trying to make money selling those cables but the work to do all that for so little money doesn’t make sense at all.


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