Over £232,000 worth of dangerous products destroyed
More than 28,000 dangerous electrical items destined for UK households have been destroyed this morning following raids on a warehouse full of unsafe electrical products. The dangerous items – destroyed by heavy-duty shredders – were imported in the run-up to Christmas last year and seized by trading standards officers from Enfield Council, on behalf of National Trading Standards, before they ended up in people’s living rooms at Christmas.
The goods destroyed this morning – which had an estimated retail value of over £232,000 – include potentially lethal laptop chargers and adapters, PC tablets, Christmas lights, disco lights, shavers, nail drills, UV gel nail dryers, sat navs, walkie talkies and other electrical products that were imported from China and other countries outside the European Union.
Many of the items shredded were found to have dangerous chargers without fuses, unsafe cabling and battery problems, which can increase the risk of devices overheating, exploding or catching fire. 22 trading standards officers from across London as well as the Metropolitan Police, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and immigration departments participated in the raid, successfully preventing the items being sold online to consumers in the pre-Christmas rush.
The raid was part of a national project funded by National Trading Standards aimed at combatting dangerous imports being sold in the UK.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said:
“Using fake electrical products can have lethal consequences and they simply aren’t worth the risk.
“We strongly recommend that you do your research before you purchase electrical products in the confidence that they are safe. It really isn't worth putting your life at risk buying cheap, fake items.
"The best way to guarantee an item's legitimacy is to buy directly from official retailers either online or in-store."
The items seized were being stored in a ‘Fulfilment House’, which is used to store products, receive orders, package and dispatch ordered items to end-consumers. In some cases they also act as a returns address. As the role of Fulfilment Houses in commerce has grown questions have been raised about the quality of the products that are being stored, which are often low-cost goods being handled on behalf of businesses based abroad.
National Trading Standards is supporting local trading standards services to gather intelligence, investigate and take enforcement action where required to help protect consumers from dangerous products being sold via Fulfilment Houses. A number of Fulfilment Houses in England and Wales have been visited and a large number of unsafe products have been removed from the supply chain, including unsafe electrical items.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“The destruction of these goods sends a strong message to those selling dangerous products without regard for the safety of unsuspecting consumers. Organisations across the consumer protection landscape are working together to put a stop to these dangerous practices.
“It can be tempting to look for a bargain, but we would urge consumers to be on their guard. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Consumer safety is a top priority for National Trading Standards and I am pleased that the products have now been removed from the supply chain.
“If you do suspect any sellers, websites or products of being unsafe we urge you to report them to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
National Trading Standards is also working with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to tackle the issue of dangerous products being sold via Fulfilment Houses and have delivered joint enforcement action across a number of Fulfilment Houses.
An HMRC spokesperson said:
“We supported National Trading Standards on this joint enforcement action across a number of Fulfilment Houses. The HMRC Imports Taskforce is combatting fraudsters shipping goods to the UK from abroad, without declaring the correct customs duty and VAT, which have already been sold online to UK consumers.
“Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion and fraud.”
To prevent dangerous goods being imported into the country, National Trading Standards also works at national entry points to monitor and detain unsafe or noncompliant items.
| National Trading Standards’ advice for consumers
Although it’s difficult to be 100% certain that a website or seller you are buying from is legitimate, there are some simple things you can do to increase the odds that you’re buying from an honest trader. Here is National Trading Standards’ checklist to help you buy safe:
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case contact National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
About National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
For more information please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk