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Charity urges consumers to avoid online marketplaces for Christmas electricals

Electrical Safety First urged consumers to stick to reputable high street or trusted retailers (PA)
Electrical Safety First urged consumers to stick to reputable high street or trusted retailers (PA)

More than half of UK adults will turn to online marketplaces to buy electronics this Christmas, leaving them at risk of dangerous goods sold by third party sellers, a charity has warned.

Electrical Safety First urged consumers to stick to reputable high street or trusted retailers after finding 52% of shoppers intend to or have already done the majority of their Christmas shopping for electronics via online marketplaces in an effort to cut costs.

It found just 37% will turn to the high street or their online alternatives.

Just under a quarter of Christmas shoppers (24%) intend to spend less this year, with the cost-of-living crisis the leading factor in households cutting back on gifts.

However the charity warned they risk inadvertently buying dangerous products for their loved ones after previous investigations found unsafe hairdryers, heaters that risk electric shock and substandard phone chargers all freely available via online marketplaces.

The charity’s chief executive Lesley Rudd said: “Many households have struggled in yet another year of financial pressure and are desperately seeking to keep the cost of Christmas down.

“But their scramble for air fryers and other must-have electronics this year could leave them vulnerable, with ruthless sellers on online marketplaces looking to cash in on Christmas at the expense of shoppers’ safety.”

Andrew Beaton, a father whose Christmas gift for his son last year started a fire, warned shoppers about buying electricals online.

Andrew Beaton, outside his home destroyed by a fire started by an e-bike bought from an online marketplace (ElectricalSafetyFirst/PA)

He said: “An innocent purchase I bought online from a marketplace destroyed our home and left us with nothing.

“The e-bike was a Christmas gift for my son, something I thought he’d love, but when it was charging overnight by the stairs it went off like a grenade. Our stairs caught alight and my family were minutes from not making it out alive. We were left without our home for six months, only moving back in last week.

“My children are still affected by the fire. The trauma of it doesn’t leave you when you’re faced with flames in the middle of the night like we were.

“I want to warn other people out there shopping online for Christmas gifts to be careful. I thought what I was buying would be safe but it was a ticking time bomb. Stick to your reputable high street retailers if you can, nobody wants to end up buying a gift that risks the safety of your family.”

Censuswide surveyed 4,002 UK adults between November 22-27.