Westminster Member of Parliament for Gordon Constituency Richard Thomson has today [Wednesday] presented the 'Electrical Safety (Online Sales) Bill' in the House of Commons. The Bill is aimed at tackling sales of unsafe electrical goods online, especially through marketplace sites such as eBay, Wish and Amazon.
The Bill, if successful, would apply electrical safety regulations to goods advertised for sale on online marketplaces. It would also require online marketplaces to remove electrical products from their websites within 24 hours of them being reported as unsafe.
Mr Thomson has taken up the issue in parliament after hearing about Electrical Safety First’s campaign to stop the sale of dangerous electrical products on online marketplaces. The Charity has launched a petition which has already attracted 17 thousand signatures from UK consumers. The campaign was recently featured on the BBC’s Watchdog consumer programme.
It is estimated that 18 million people - as many as one in three UK residents - have accidentally bought an unsafe electrical product online and figures from 2018/19 show that 90% of electrical house fires in Scotland were started by electrical appliances.
Electrical Safety First research has indicated a particular issue with the sale of unsafe electrical items online in Scotland, with one in five consumers (one million people) having purchased a fake electrical product that was advertised as genuine.
Commenting on the issue Richard Thomson MP said:
“The risk associated with unsafe electrical goods is significant. They have a much higher risk of failure such as overheating and explosion and with figures showing that the vast majority of electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical goods, there is a real need to ensure that consumers have better protection from these goods.
“Online marketplaces account for a significant percentage of sales of unsafe electrical goods but they are not subject to the same safety regulations as other UK retailers.
“This Bill would ensure much more stringent rules are applied to the sale of electrical goods on online marketplaces and ensure that they are removed from sale quickly when they have been reported as unsafe.”
Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First Lesley Rudd has welcomed the presentation of the Bill, saying:
“It is essential that unsafe electrical goods are prevented from being sold via online marketplaces. These companies should not continue to profit from the sale of illegal goods which all too often, cause a risk to life. It is evident self-regulation has failed, and a change to the law is the only tangible solution if we are to protect innocent consumers from harm. The same legal obligations we hold our high street retailers to must be extended to online marketplaces.”