Warning issued over illegal Christmas lights being sold online
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Consumers are being warned about buying Christmas tree lights online over safety concerns.
Unless you want your tree to go up in smoke or be at risk of ruining Christmas and your house turning into a scene from How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Which? is urging tree light buyers to remain vigilant when purchasing products online.
The company which 'works for you reviewing products and services, so that you make the best purchase decisions for your needs' has discovered shocking statistics which reveal just how many unsafe and unfit for purpose festive lights are being sold and from which online stores.
Out of 12 sets of Christmas tree lights purchased from online stores Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and Wish, Which? found 10 failed to meet regulations and are actually illegal to sell in the UK.
One set of fairy LED string lights costing £13 was discovered as being flimsily made around the control box, cable and plug, and easily falling apart and subsequently exposing wires; being a fire hazard as well as being at risk of giving whoever uses it an electric shock.
The item, purchased from Wish, was also advertised as being waterproof, but when tested, Which? found this to be inaccurate.
Since being made aware by Which? of the dangerous nature of the product, Wish has removed the item from its site.
Wish told Sky News: "Product safety is a top priority for Wish, and we have clear policies in place that prohibit the listing or sale of items on our platform that violate local or other applicable laws, regulations, and/or safety standards.
"As soon as we were made aware of these unsafe items being listed on our platform, we took immediate steps to take them down and conduct monitoring over certain other identical merchant listings."
AliExpress also removed one of its products from its site after a set of tree lights being sold for £13.23 were found to also pose a risk of someone suffering an electric shock when using them.
The documents for the product as well as the packaging and markings were all found to have issues.
The lights were also deemed illegal to sell in the UK after they blew out upon Which? performing an electrical strength test on them.
A spokesperson for AliExpress told LADbible: "The items identified as part of the investigation by Which? have been removed. We have reviewed similar product listings to ensure all sellers have provided the correct information and paperwork.
"AliExpress is a third-party marketplace therefore not take custody of the goods being sold. We have policies in place that all our sellers must comply with to create a safe shopping environment."
Just one set of lights purchased from Amazon and another from eBay were deemed safe.
Both sets of tree lights were reviewed by Which? as passing every test and being legal to use in the UK - both companies stating they are 'very serious' about the safety of the products they sell online.
A spokesperson from eBay said: "Our close working relationships with stakeholders and regulators are an important part of our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe. Our Regulatory Portal enables authorities from around the world to report listings of unsafe products for swift removal."
A spokesperson from Amazon told LADbible: "Safety is a top priority at Amazon and we require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations. We have proactive measures in place to prevent non-compliant items from being listed and we continuously monitor our store so customers can shop with confidence."
Two items from Amazon found to have non-compliant documentation and/or packaging, but which were still proven safe to use, have since been removed from the site.
Please note – on background – that the failings of the two products sold on Amazon were not found to be dangerous by Which? but, rather, related to non-compliant documentation/packaging.
However, they were the only two out of 12 sets of lights Which? tested which proved to be safe.
Concerns are now rising more people will opt for cheaper and potentially less safe lights in a bid to save pennies amid a growing cost of living crisis.
Head of consumer protection policy at Which?, Sue Davies, stated: "Cheap Christmas lights could be tempting for many of us trying to save money amid the cost of living crisis - but our latest research shows consumers could be putting themselves in danger due to online marketplaces failing to take safety seriously.
"The government must make online marketplaces legally responsible for dangerous and illegal products sold through their sites so that people are better protected."
LADbible has contacted eBay and Wish for comment.
If you've been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can find more information about where to get help from Turn2Us via their website