Almost half of toys from third-party online sellers found to be unsafe | Online shopping
Nearly half of the toys purchased from third-party sellers in online marketplaces were unsafe, according to an investigation by an industry body that warns of a “wild west of security.”
Research by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) has identified toys that could choke, burn or even poison a child sold on major sites like Amazon and eBay.
Out of a random sample of 255 toys, 48% were unsure for a child to play with, with the BTHA, which represents UK-based toy makers, describing the results as “deeply disturbing”.
Unlike department stores, there is no legal obligation for online marketplaces to verify the safety of products that other sellers list on their site. This loophole in the law was recently raised by members of the public accounts committee who argued that the country’s product safety regime is falling short as shopping moves online.
Harmful products identified by researchers included interactive baby dolls sold on eBay that contained a restricted chemical, and a remote-controlled helicopter on Amazon that broke easily, exposing button batteries extremely dangerous if swallowed.
The BHTA calls for legal reform so that online marketplaces are held accountable for products sold through their sites. He also wants more control by seller and product platforms before the products go on sale.
Her campaign is led by Sam McCarthy, the mother of three-year-old Rebecca, who almost died after swallowing brightly colored magnets bought from a third-party seller on eBay that she mistook for candy.
Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs at BTHA, said the government must step in to “legislate on this wild west of security.” “We need to see politicians from all sides of the house coming together to protect children,” she said..
Until recently, product safety rules were enforced by trade standards officers, but issues with home appliances as well as changes resulting from Brexit led to the creation of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) in 2018.
Ebay said it has filters in place that automatically block dangerous ads and also has staff who manually review and remove ads. “We continue to work closely with authorities, including Trading Standards and OPSS, to ensure that eBay sellers and listings comply with laws and regulations,” the company said.
Amazon said all products sold in its store must comply with applicable laws and regulations in that country and that it has proactive measures in place to prevent the listing of suspicious or non-compliant products.