Saturday, 22 February 2014

Safe Shopper's Guide from the ESC

When shopping for electrical goods, everybody loves a bargain. But ... the product could be a cheap copy, of poor quality, or made to look like a well-known brand. Or it may be second hand, with damage that can make it unsafe. These electrical products could harm you, your family and your home.

Unsafe electrical products can cause fire, electric shock, burns and other injuries. The last year has seen the highest number of counterfeit electrical goods entering the UK in three years and experts predict that this rise will result in millions of unsafe Christmas presents being given this year.

Ten tips to help you stay safeFollow our tips to stay safe when shopping for electrical goods, either online or in stores:
Beware of any item that is much cheaper than you expected. If it's too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Don't rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of quality.
  • Check that the packaging note looks genuine. Does the item come with instructions and a guarantee?
  • Check for damage when you get home, especially loose or broken fittings or frayed wires.
  • Check that the item has a three-pin UK plug or charger and that you know the country of origin.
  • Check that the voltage of products is 230V, 50Hz - the UK's usual domestic voltage .
  • Avoid buying second-hand products, especially ones where the guarantee or warranty has run out. You won't know who has owned it or what condition it is in.
  • Use online review websites to find out what people are saying about products and sellers 
If you suspect a product is dangerous to use, or if it is a fake copy of a well-known brand, it is illegal. Contact your local trading standards office or Citizens Advice straight away. If you have any suspicions about a product's safety, or if you think it's a fake, do not use it.

Problem products
Recall information from the official EU recall system, which lists unsafe products in Europe, shows the electrical goods most reported as faulty or dangerous are:
  • Electrical chargers
  • Adaptors, including those used for travel
  • Cable extension and product leads
  • Hairdryers, tongs and clippers
  • Small kitchen appliances like kettles, toasters and irons

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