Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Alarms Found on Online Marketplaces, Warns Which?
Consumer watchdog Which? has issued a warning about the sale of dangerous carbon monoxide alarms on popular online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, and Wish. According to Which?, these devices fail to detect high levels of the potentially lethal gas. The consumer watchdog claims that the government is not taking urgent action to hold these marketplaces accountable. Which? first alerted eBay about one of the unsafe models seven years ago, but the device still failed to respond to carbon monoxide in 10 out of 28 tests and had an alarm that was too quiet. All 149 listings for these dangerous carbon monoxide alarms have now been removed from the four websites. eBay disclosed that at least 1,311 of these alarms had been sold on its platform. The five dangerous alarm models, all unbranded and made in China, were prominently featured on these websites when the “cheapest first” filter was chosen, with some being offered for as little as £5.
Online Marketplaces Fail to Take Action
Which? has been raising concerns about dangerous carbon monoxide alarms for years, but online marketplaces continue to allow them to be sold on their sites. Sue Davies, the head of consumer protection policy at Which?, expressed her disappointment in the lack of action taken by these platforms to prevent the sale of unsafe products. She called on the government to establish new regulations that prioritize consumer safety and enable tough enforcement action against online marketplaces that break the rules.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Fatal Consequences
Avril and Gordon Samuel, founders of the Katie Haines Memorial Trust, have been campaigning for better awareness of carbon monoxide alarms since the death of their daughter from CO poisoning. They have previously highlighted concerns about some carbon monoxide alarms being sold online, particularly those from China. Avril emphasized the importance of purchasing CO alarms only from reputable manufacturers and retailers, as alarms that do not meet the required standards can have fatal results.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Statistics
Figures show that carbon monoxide poisoning has caused over 200 accidental deaths in England and Wales in the last decade. This highlights the seriousness of the issue and the need for effective regulation and enforcement to ensure the safety of consumers.
Response from Online Marketplaces
Amazon and eBay have responded to the findings. An Amazon spokesperson stated that safety is a top priority for the company and that they have strict measures in place to prevent the listing of unsafe or non-compliant products. They have removed the identified products pending further investigation. An eBay spokesperson emphasized their commitment to user safety and stated that they have taken action against sellers who breached their policy by listing unbranded and unsafe brands of smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. They also continuously review and update their measures to prevent the sale of unsafe products.
The Department for Business and Trade has acknowledged the importance of public safety and stated that they are consulting on modernizing the product safety framework to hold online marketplaces accountable. They aim to ensure that items sold online meet the same standards as those sold on the high street. The Office for Product Safety and Standards will take appropriate enforcement action, such as ordering the removal of unsafe products from the market, if businesses do not comply with product safety regulations.
Overall, the sale of dangerous carbon monoxide alarms on online marketplaces is a serious concern. Consumers should be cautious when purchasing such devices and ensure they are buying from reputable manufacturers and retailers. The government and online marketplaces need to work together to establish and enforce regulations that prioritize consumer safety.