Harry Leahey

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“Highly dangerous” chargers for e-bikes were found on Ebay, Amazon, and AliExpress by a leading electric safety charity. 

Electrical Safety First (ESF) found up to 60 listings for charges across the four sites, having been put up by third-party sellers. 

The charity says all items identified fell well below UK safety standards, with some failing to include a fuse - a safety feature which stops the flow of electricity should a fault occur in the supply lead. 

On the findings: Technical director from the charity, Martyn Allen said: “The process of charging e-bike batteries must be done with compatible and compliant chargers. 

“These chargers we have identified for sale all pose an increased risk of fire and electric shock and should never have been available for sale to UK shoppers in the first instance.

“Given the frightening nature of lithium-ion battery fires, it is essential the charging equipment doesn’t pose any unnecessary risk to the battery or user.”

Following the investigation, all four of the shopping sites took down the listings, but Allen says greater regulation is needed to prevent these items from appearing in the first place. 

He added:  “The lack of vital regulation needed to ensure online marketplaces are responsible for the safety of goods sold via their platforms is contributing significantly to dangerous products entering people’s homes. 

“The Government must bring forward urgent laws to finally end this scandal.”

In response to the findings, Ebay, which was found to have had the most listings (21) said: “We take product safety extremely seriously, and welcome the information provided to us by Electrical Safety First about these products. In addition to our block filter algorithms and security teams monitoring the site, we work closely with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure eBay remains free of unsafe products. 

Meanwhile, Amazon Marketplace, found featuring 13 listings, said: “Safety is important to Amazon and we want customers to shop with confidence in our stores.

“We have proactive measures in place to prevent suspicious or non-compliant products from being listed and we monitor the products sold in our stores for product safety concerns.

“When appropriate, we remove a product from the store, reach out to sellers, manufacturers, and government agencies for additional information, or take other actions.

“If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact our customer service directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action. We have removed these products from sale while we investigate.”

A spokesperson from said that: "All of our merchants must comply with local laws whenever selling on our platform, as noted in Wish’s Merchant Terms of Service and Wish Policies.

“After being informed that a number of advertised product images do not appear to meet UK legal standards, we've reached out to the merchants who sell the products in question, and have requested additional compliance documentation and higher resolution product imagery.

"Out of an abundance of caution, and in accordance with our policies, we are temporarily blocking these product listings from the EU and UK markets, pending the final outcome of the merchant-investigation. 

Once adequate documentation/response is received, we will review and consider whether further action is needed."

Responding to the findings, AliExpress added: “{it} takes product safety very seriously and we have strict guidelines in place to ensure a safe shopping environment. 

“We thank Electrical Safety First for bringing these listings to our attention, we have removed the non-compliant items highlighted by their investigation. 

“As a third-party marketplace, AliExpress does not take possession of the goods in transactions, we have policies in place that all sellers must comply with.”

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Harry Leahey 06/04/23