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With 64% of fake electrical goods now being sold online – and 44% of MPs surveyed believing counterfeit electrical goods are a problem in their area - Electrical Safety First is asking stakeholders and other interested parties to support its call for increased consumer protection in the Government’s Digital Economy Bill.
Although the Bill is primarily concerned with broadband connectivity, the Charity believes it offers an opportunity to address major concerns regarding loopholes around selling counterfeit electrical goods online.
In recent years there has been a considerable increase in fake electrical goods entering the country, with the top electrical fakes being mobile phones and chargers, and health and beauty equipment. Research by Electrical Safety First found that around 2.5 million adults have purchased a counterfeit electrical product in the last 12 months - double the number of people that reported purchasing a counterfeit the previous year. And not only are the majority being purchased online but the sales are increasing at rate of 15% each year.
The Charity is calling on the Government to:
· Legally require online retailers to report people consistently selling fake electrical products, to trading standards and or the police.
· Assess the numbers and types of counterfeits being imported - including specific details of those being bought online - and the cost to the economy.
· Review current legislation around the sale of counterfeits, much of which is over 20 years old.
· Establish a new task force to combat the sale of fake electrical goods online and legally require trading standards to report on counterfeit electrical goods seized.
“Well over a quarter of a million (350,000) serious injuries are caused by electricity each year, along with almost half of all fires in UK homes - the vast majority
arising from electrical products”, explains Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First. “And in addition to the property damage, which is conservatively estimated at £41.6 million per year, the personal cost is, of course, immeasurable. While fake and substandard are not synonymous, it’s not surprising that many counterfeit items carry a substantial risk, often omitting key components which affect both safety and functionality. But while a fake designer bag might not last as long or look as good as the real thing, it can’t kill you – a fake electrical product could.”