Fife Council Trading Standards, in conjunction with the Trading Standards North of Scotland Safety Partnership, is asking consumers to think carefully when buying goods from online market places and platforms during Black Friday and the run up to Christmas.
With an increasing number of people shopping online and purchasing items that may be manufactured outside the UK and EU, the partnership is urging consumers check:
- Where the seller is based? Not all websites ending .co.uk are based in the UK.
- Can you establish where the online selling platform operates from? It may be the USA, China or other countries that are not subject to the safety requirements applicable in the UK and EU.
- Do your research on the product you wish to buy – if it’s being offered for sale at a price much lower than it would normally retail at, this can indicate that the item could be a cheap copy, which has not been subject to any safety testing.
- Read online reviews to see what people are saying about products and sellers. Whilst bearing in mind that it may be possible for positive listings to be made by people who have an interest in selling the item.
- If the packaging can be seen, is the information given in English? Spelling errors and grammatical errors can be an indication that items are made outside the UK.
- Are the manufacturer’s or importer’s details on the packaging? Apart from being a legal requirement, this provides a route for Trading Standards to try to help should you receive unsafe products.
Legislation exists to try to ensure that goods manufactured in the UK and EU are safe - whether that is safe generally, or safe in terms of specific legislation for toys, cosmetics, electrical equipment and many other items that are popular.
Dawn Adamson, Trading Standards Service Manager said: “Safety legislation is in place to protect members of the public from unsafe products. The increase in online shopping, and the supply of goods from outside the EU where the safety legislation does not apply, it’s an ever-increasing problem to try and make sure goods that arrive on the doorstep will not cause injury to people or property.”
If you have concerns about the safety of a product you have bought please contact Advice Direct Scotland at www.consumeradvice.scot or call 0808 164 6000.