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Faulty and sub-standard electrical goods can pose a safety risk if they overheat, catch fire or cause electrical shocks. Approximately 24% of accidental dwelling fires in England between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2015 were caused by electronics. The London Fire Brigade estimates that there is, on average, one fire a day in the capital caused by faulty white goods.

The Intellectual Property Office has reported that in 2014/15 counterfeit electrical goods were the seventh most investigated item by Trading Standards.

The charity organisation, Electrical Safety First, suggests that the growth in the number of counterfeit electrical goods in the UK poses particular risk to the public and urges people to avoid them by only purchasing from reputable retailers.

This subject has recently attracted much interest in the media, with reports focusing on the safety risk of faulty imported ‘hoverboards’ and recalls of tumble driers following concerns over a potential fire risk.

The particular requirements surrounding the safety of electrical goods sold in or imported into the UK are contained in the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Information on a consumer’s rights on returning a faulty good is contained in the House of Commons Library Briefing, Consumer Rights Act 2015

Advice, Guidance and Reports

Parliamentary Business

The following is a small selection of recent Parliamentary business relevant to this debate.

Parliamentary questions

Early Day Motions

EDM 754 of session 2015-16, Counterfeit Electrical Goods

EDM 632 of session 2014 –15, Counterfeit Products Online and Electrical Safety

Adjournment Debate

Safety of Electrical Appliances [HC Deb 24 March 2014 c129]

Media Articles and Press Releases

The following is a small selection of media articles which may be relevant to this debate:

Mirror, White goods time bomb warning as fire bosses believe just 1 out of 5 faulty appliances are fixed, 13 March 2016

Mail Online, Family left homeless when their hoverboard exploded launch legal action over the device that nearly killed their three children after setting fire to their house, 3 March 2016

Mail Online, Mountain of illegal ‘exploding’ hoverboards erupts into flames after being seized at Heathrow to be destroyed – sending Trading Standards officers running for cover, 25 February 2016

Evening Standard, Dozens of hoverboards destroyed after being seized at Heathrow, 25 February 2016

The Independent, Amazon urges hoverboard buyers to ‘dispose’ of must-have Christmas present amid safety fears, 16 December 2015

Which?, Beware exploding fake Nutribullets this Christmas, 15 December 2015

Chartered Trading Standards Institute Thousands of unsafe ‘hoverboards’ detained over past seven weeks 3 December 2015

The Guardian, Hoverboards impounded at UK ports over explosion risk, 2 December 2015

BBC News, Fire risks prompt tumble dryer recall, 23 November 2015

BBC News, Faulty appliances cause 12,000 fires, Which? research finds, 14 June 2015

Which?, Which? reveals the home appliances most likely to catch fire, 14 June 2015

Debate packs are intended to provide a summary or overview of the issues being debated and identify any relevant briefings including press and parliamentary material. A more detailed briefing may be prepared for a Member on request to the Library.

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