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 out with the UK and EU, the partnership is urging consumers to:
Ask - do I know where this seller is based? Not all .co.uk websites are based in the UK.
Can you establish where the online selling platform operates from? It may be the USA, China or other countries which are not subject to the safety requirements applicable in the UK and EU.
On well-known selling platforms do not assume that the goods are being sold by the platform - look closely at the listing and any returns information. Often the goods will be shipped from countries outwith the UK and EU.
Search the listing fully – this can lead to the details of the seller being available.
Do your research on the product you wish to buy – is it being offered for sale at a price much lower than it would normally retail at. This can indicate that the item is a cheap copy which has not been subject to any safety testing.
Look at any reviews, 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 packaging can be seen, is the information given in proper English? Spelling errors and grammatical errors can be an indication that items are made outwith 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.
Use online review websites to see what people are saying about products and sellers, and in general see what is being said online.
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 in respect of goods such as toys, cosmetics, electrical equipment and many other items that are popular.
A spokesman for the partnership said, “Safety legislation is in place to try to protect members of the public from unsafe products. The increase in online purchasing, and the supply of goods from outwith the EU where the safety legislation does not apply, makes it an ever increasing problem to try and make sure goods that arrive on the doorstep will not cause injury to people or property. Online platforms and websites provide a great variety of goods for consumers, but also make it more difficult to ensure that goods delivered direct to consumers from outwith the UK are safe. Many websites and online selling platforms are outwith the jurisdiction of UK authorities. We would very much like everyone to enjoy their purchases safely.”