UK Government targets unsafe consumer products online in run-up to Christmas

The UK government is testing more than 1,000 products to help ensure gifts given at Christmas are safe for families. The products, including electricals, are from third-party sellers on online marketplaces and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is ensuring they meet the UK’s high standards for product safety, or else ensuring that they are removed from sale.

If any dangerous or faulty products are identified, OPSS will contact the online marketplace to have them taken down so that Christmas gifts are safe. Consumers will be able to return products and receive a refund.

OPSS has identified goods such as toys, cosmetics and electricals that can pose risks. The products are checked for correct labelling and packaging and any which fail are sent away to a testing house for further investigation.

The announcement is the next step in enforcement action that has already seen 12,500 products removed from supply so far in 2021. OPSS officials also undertake direct enforcement action alongside Local Authority Trading Standards and Border Force.

UK consumer minister Paul Scully said, “No parent should have to worry about the safety of the toys they’ve bought their kids at Christmas. Sadly, there are greater threats than finding a lump of coal under the tree on Christmas morning which is why we’re pulling out all the stops to keep everyone safe. The UK has some of the highest product safety standards in the world and we’re hard at work to ensure nothing from the naughty list makes its way into Santa’s sleigh this Christmas.”

Martyn Allen, technical director at Electrical Safety First (ESF), added, “We welcome this enforcement activity from OPSS, particularly in the run up to Christmas when so many people are using online marketplaces to buy gifts for their loved ones. ESF is pleased to be working closely with OPSS to help identify and raise awareness of the serious safety issues, including simple checks the public can make to help ensure the products they buy are safe.”