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Consumers urged to take care shopping online during National Consumer Week

28 November 2016

People are being urged to take care when shopping on eBay after an Essex resident bought a hair product direct from China via the online marketplace that an officer at Essex Trading Standards described as 'the most dangerous electrical product I have investigated'.


The instructions accompanying the product state that you should “clean the hair with shampll” (sic), then “cover the hair with a wet towel, put on the hair treatment cap”, switch it on and “heat the hair for 20 mins”.

 


After being tested, the product, which was bought for less than £5 (including shipping from China), was deemed to pose a significant risk to health and safety and Essex Trading Standards officers had the listing removed from eBay.

 


Cllr Anne Brown, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Corporate and Communities, said: “Not only could this item have easily caught fire, there’s a great chance it could have also electrocuted any person unlucky enough to try to use it.

 


“The sad thing is that this isn’t an isolated issue, hundreds if not thousands of products such as this are available online from sites such as eBay, and our officers have to prove that each of them individually is dangerous before we can have the listing removed.

 

 
“This is why I want to make sure everyone is aware that just because something is listed on a site like eBay does not mean that it is safe and fit for use. Take care when shopping online and contact us if you think you’ve bought a dangerous product.”

 


The advice comes at the launch of National Consumer Week which runs until Sunday 4 December and encourages people to get #SwitchedOn to their consumer rights and shop with confidence.

 


The campaign is run by Citizens Advice, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

 


To report a concern to Trading Standards about a potentially unsafe product or to get consumer advice call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or online on www.citizensadvice.org.uk

 


Free and impartial business advice on a host of trading standards legislation is available on the government-sponsored website, www.businesscompanion.co.uk