There are thousands of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning every year in the UK, which cause around 50 deaths and 4000 visits to hospital. Carbon monoxide alarms can be used to protect the public from these risks. However, the consumer group Which? has recently launched an investigation, which has found that several alarms being sold online are faulty. These were found on Amazon and eBay, and have now been removed from sale as they would have failed to protect their buyers adequately.
As part of the investigation, the group tested four alarms that were for sale on both of the websites. This included one of Amazon’s best selling products. They found that the products failed to make a sound when carbon monoxide was present, and consistently failed safety tests. They added that all four of the alarms they tested met all the British safety standards required for sale in the UK.
Which? has now called for the Office for Product Safety and Standards to increase its efforts to protect consumers by increasing its markets surveillance and identifying products that could pose a risk. Alex Neill, Which?’s managing director of home products and services, said: “When household names such as Amazon and eBay are selling products that could put consumers at risk, it is clear more must be done by businesses and the government to proactively identify potentially dangerous products and stop them from entering people’s homes.”
Both sites have now removed the alarms from sale, as well as other “lookalike products” that could have the same issues. A spokesperson from eBay said that safety was highly important, and the company is working with trading standards to make sure all products listed meet safety requirements. Amazon said: “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.”