‘Dangerous’ carbon monoxide alarms sold on Amazon and eBay

Dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are being sold on Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, and Wish, according to Which?.

As part of an investigation, Which? bought cheap CO alarms from sellers on popular online marketplaces.

Its tests found that there is a risk they would fail to alert households to the presence of CO.

Across the four platforms, it found 149 listings for unsafe CO alarms.

All of these products have now been removed by the marketplaces after Which? flagged the their defects.

Which? said that eBay was the only one of the four which discloses sales figures which showed that at least 1,311 of the dangerous alarms Which? found had been purchased.

"We only allow sellers to list approved brands of carbon monoxide detectors and can confirm that action has been taken against the sellers," said eBay.

Amazon and AliExpress said that they take safety very seriously, while Wish explained that all merchants on its platform are required to adhere to local laws and safety standards.

The consumer champion warned the UK government is failing to take the “urgent action” needed to give these online marketplaces more legal responsibility for preventing unsafe products from being sold on their platforms.

While the government last week released an update on its product safety review, first launched in March 2021, the organisation says it failed to provide reassurances that an independent regulator would be given the right powers to crack down on dangerous items.

“Which? has been raising concerns about dangerous CO alarms for years, yet online marketplaces continue to allow them on their sites and into people’s homes, despite the potentially fatal consequences," said Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy, Which?. “This is the latest in a long line of examples of unsafe products being readily available on online marketplaces, with far too little action taken by the platforms to prevent them being allowed for sale."

Which? revealed that the five unsafe CO alarm models labelled ‘Don’t Buys’ by Which?, which were all unbranded and made in China, featured prominently on the online marketplaces when listings were filtered by cheapest first, with some being sold for as little as £5.

The organisation said that one of the models, a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm, was first flagged to eBay by Which? seven years ago.

Tests done this year, it added, show that this model still can't be relied on to sound when people need it to.

Which? found 88 sellers listing the same dangerous alarm on AliExpress, Amazon, eBay and Wish, with eBay sellers making up nearly 600 sales.

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