Facebook Marketplace fails to remove listings of dangerous electrical goods

Dangerous electrical goods have remained on sale via Meta’s Facebook Marketplace despite the social media company being told to remove the listings more than seven weeks ago.

Electrical Safety First (ESF) flagged ten dangerous and substandard products to Meta in late February as part of a wide-scale investigation that identified dangerous goods for sale via five major online marketplaces. 

Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Wish.com and AliExpress all responded to alerts from the charity by swiftly removing the listings. But ESF says goods that expose shoppers to risk of electric shock and fire remained on sale via Facebook Marketplace. 

Lesley Rudd, ESF chief executive, said: “Meta has failed to act when presented with our evidence, leaving their shoppers exposed to avoidable harm. In doing so Meta has distinguished itself from other online platforms for all the wrong reasons.” 

The charity reviewed the status of the ten listings it flagged to Meta in late April. Four listings were no longer active, with links to the items leading to a page informing that the listing “may have expired or been sold,” yet six listings remained active. 

An e-scooter charger, with an illegal UK plug lacking a fuse, was one listing found to still be for sale online, alongside a pair of hair straighteners being sold with an EU plug and non-compliant UK travel adapter, which was considered unsafe to use and presented a risk of electric shock.

“The government’s product safety review is more than a year late and this inaction from Meta is clear evidence that we cannot rely on the goodwill of online platforms to protect shoppers,” Rudd added.

“The government must urgently publish its review – in not doing so, it is allowing consumers to be put at risk. Laws are urgently required to force online marketplaces to take reasonable steps to ensure products on their platforms are safe.”  

On checking the listings again yesterday, the listings were found to be no longer active.

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) confirmed to the Press Association that its Office for Product Safety and Standards asked Meta to de-list the items on 20 April.

A DBT spokeswoman said: “We are holding businesses to their legal obligations, including online marketplaces, to keep the public safe.

“Working with local Trading Standards, the Office for Product Safety and Standards is taking action to ensure that any products that pose a serious risk to consumers are identified and removed from sale.

“We are also carrying out a thorough assessment of product safety in the UK and exploring the issue of online marketplaces further.”

A Meta spokesperson said: “We work closely with external partners and respond to valid legal requests including from the Office for Product Safety & Standards, to prevent illegal activity on our platforms.”

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Original Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2023/05/facebook-marketplace-fails-to-remove-listings-of-dangerous-electrical-goods/

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