Smoke alarms sold via the online marketplace failed to detect smoke.
eBay has removed the listings for smoke alarms that failed to detect smoke after a series of tests were conducted by consumer watchdog Which?.
A new warning has been issued over the safety of cheap smoke alarms bought online after devices purchased from eBay and Wish failed every mock test, according to Which?.
The study found that the four alarms tested in the trial accounted for 171 of the cheapest 500 listings available on eBay for customers to buy. All of the alarms tested failed to go off during their safety tests, but were still being sold to customers. On Wish, 28 out of 200 listings were for three of the alarms that completely failed to detect smoke.
The alarms — which are non-branded and made in China — can be bought for just a few pounds. But with many consumers installing them in their homes because of their affordability, hundreds of lives could be at risk.
‘The listings flagged by Which? have been removed and the sellers informed. The safety of customers is our number one priority and we work closely with bodies such as Trading Standards to ensure listings sold on our marketplace comply with the law,’ a spokesperson for eBay said.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
‘It’s extremely concerning that eBay and Wish are listing smoke alarms that simply do not work, which could put people’s lives at risk in the event of a fire. Anyone who has one of the products highlighted should stop using it immediately.
‘eBay and Wish must take the safety of their customers more seriously and stop these alarms from getting on to their sites in the first place. eBay customers will be shocked to find that listings for some unsafe alarms simply reappear on the site after being removed.
‘The safety of products bought on some online marketplaces is becoming an increasing concern. The OPSS and Trading Standards need to take a more proactive approach to ensure that potentially lethal products don’t enter people’s homes through the back door.’
Always buy a smoke alarm with a recognised brand and retailer – follow the manufacturer’s guidance on the installation, location and maintenance of the alarm. It’s recommended that you write on the smoke alarm the day that it was installed, and the date that it, or the battery, should be replaced. You should test your alarm every week and, unless it has a 10-year integrated battery, change the battery annually. You should always replace your smoke alarm after 10 years.
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