Get Switched on this Christmas


This year’s National Consumer Week (Monday 28 November to Friday 2 December) is all about getting consumers ‘switched on’ to their rights when buying electrical goods.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, Plymouth Trading Standards Officers are warning shoppers to be careful what they buy and where they buy it.

There is a growing problem with the standard of electrical products that are being sold online and on social media.   

One of the must have Christmas presents last year were the self-balancing scooters known as hoverboards. A total of 44,878 were seized at border points across the UK and when tested they were found to be unsafe due to defective batteries which were unstable and overheated, causing fire and explosions.  In Plymouth 28 of these unsafe hoverboards were seized from a retailer.

There are a lot of counterfeit branded products being sold in the run up to Christmas.  The packaging and external appearance is often well copied but the internal design is likely to be significantly different and dangerous.  These items pose a real risk to the health and safety of people and damage to property.  Fake products will always be sub-standard and can cause electric shocks or overheat and cause fires.  In some cases they have caused fatalities.

Councillor Downie Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “A bargain may not be all that it seems. Always make sure you buy from reputable suppliers and if you purchase any second hand electrical equipment, ensure it has a CE mark and has been tested for safety.” 

It’s not only fake gifts under the tree that pose a threat there are also a lot of Christmas lights and outdoor decorations being sold over the internet that could be unsafe.  These lights often do not contain the appropriate safety warnings or instructions for use.  The packaging does not have manufacturers details on them.  The adaptors can pose a fire risk.

Councillor Downie added: “We all like to decorate our homes with lights for the festive season but it is vital that we ensure we buy lights from a reputable store and that the CE safety mark is displayed.” 

For further information on electrical safety visitwww.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.  The website has a number of useful guides and electrical safety recalls. 

For further information please visitwww.citizensadvice.org.uk/ncw16  or contact Trading Standards or Citizens advice for help on 0345 040506.