66% of products from online marketplaces failed safety tests

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Research from Which? has revealed that 66% of the products tested from online marketplaces failed safety tests. That means that 2 out of 3 products were found to be unsafe.

Which? collaborated with five European consumers’ associations to test products sold on online marketplaces, these marketplaces included AliExpress, Amazon, eBay and Wish. 18 different products were tested and the failed safety tests included:

  • Smoke and CO alarms that couldn’t detect smoke or carbon monoxide
  • Christmas lights that could give you an electric shock
  • USB chargers and travel adaptors that could cause a fire
  • A power bank that melted during testing

The removal of unsafe items

Interestingly, four marketplaces including Alibaba (for AliExpress), Amazon, eBay and Rakuten France (Priceminister) signed a Product Safety Pledge with the EU in 2018 to remove dangerous products from their sites as soon as they’re notified of them. Most Online Marketplaces insist that they remove any illegal listings that they are informed of but does it stop unsafe products from being sold? According to Which? the new research included the testing of fabric car seats, the same of which they informed marketplaces about several times over the past few years.

“These listings have been removed and we have taken enforcement action against the sellers.”

“We have no tolerance for unsafe, banned, recalled or illegal products on our marketplaces, and it’s required in our User Agreement that all sellers comply with the law.”
– eBay

“When we are made aware of unsafe or prohibited items on our platform, as on this occasion with Which?, we act quickly to remove them and take action against the sellers, which can include suspending their accounts or removing them from the platform.”
– AliExpress

“Safety is a top priority at Amazon. We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and have developed industry-leading tools to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed in our stores.”
– Amazon

“In the rare instance where a product falls below those standards and sufficient evidence is provided, we take the appropriate action to remove the items as swiftly as possible.”
– Wish

Stay vigilant

Consumers could lose trust in marketplaces that continue to sell fake and unsafe goods. Genuine sellers then lose business. It’s already clear that consumers are losing trust, feeling the need to conduct in-depth research before buying. Of course, as a responsible seller you probably ensure your regular suppliers fully test and CE verify the products you source and sell but if you’re using alternatives due to coronavirus it’s worth remembering not all suppliers are diligent.

2 Responses

  1. I bought what I thought was a Samsung charge dock the other year total fake on eBay and dangerous to boot. If the price is to good on a marketplace buyer beware. I do not buy any electronics on eBay and only of Amazon direct now
    It goes for everything counterfeit and products being misrepresented (used wrapped up as new)…
    Likes of eBay and Amazon are only interested in FEEs.
    They should have team in place mystery shopping and testing products, I know smaller more responsible marketplaces who do this with a lot less resources.
    You never know you might actually gain some customer trust back for once.

  2. loads of fakes on ebay…. problem is they never seem to go away. I see lots of ‘genuine’ mobile phone batteries with statements like ‘5 year guarantee’ or even 10 years! No battery manufacturer gives a guarantee of more than 2. The wording is slapped across the image and listing… Ironically ebay forbids anything other than the image in the picture… but they never police it, so what faith do we have in them dealing with anything harder to police?
    The listings are full of fakes…. but far too many just shop for the lowest price, and market places are the place to go for that.


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