Amazon Marketplace, Ebay, AliExpress and Wish have been slammed by consumer groups after a shocking 40 per cent of toys purchased through these platforms failed safety tests.
According to a new investigation from consumer watchdog Which?, 12 out of 28 toys it purchased from these platforms posed a serious risk to children.
Collectively the 12 toys failed 50 safety tests, with 10 deemed a choking hazard, two posing a risk of strangulation and another two having magnets or batteries that could be easily accessed.
Wish was reportedly the worst offender, with five dangerous toys being procured via the platform, while three were sold on Ebay and AliExpress respectively.
It marks the latest in a string of damning investigations into online marketplace by Which? and other consumer organisations laying bare how many dangerous or illegal products are sold without being checked.
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“Many parents will be appalled by our research which has revealed that some toys bought from online marketplaces are failing to meet safety standards and could pose a serious safety risk to children playing with them,” Which? head of consumer protection policy Sue Davies said.
“Consumers should be able to trust that products sold in the UK are safe and meet the standards required, yet a woeful lack of checks and monitoring by online marketplaces means dangerous toys are entering people’s homes.
“It is absolutely crucial that online marketplaces are urgently given greater legal responsibility for the safety of products sold on their sites so that consumers are far better protected from dangerous and illegal items.”
Online marketplaces have until now had little to no legal obligation to ensure the safety of products sold on their platforms, arguing that they simply act as middlemen connecting customers with sellers.
However, an increasing number of legal battles have seen market leaders like Amazon be forced to take more responsibility for items sold on its platform.
In August last year, the California Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can now be held liable for any injuries caused by defective products sold by third party merchants on its platform, overturning a previous ruling by the San Diego Superior Court.
Then, in March this year, Amazon faced another court battle over whether it is responsible for the safety of products sold on its platform after a 19-month-old child was left severely burned.
“The tide has changed now,” Brooklyn Law School professor Aaron Twerski told the Financial Times.
“I think (Amazon is) dead in the water, because they’re wrong. They’re just plain simply wrong.”