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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
- The charity organisation Electrical Safety First highlights the importance of electrical safety for consumers, business and government. They recently published a report, A Shocking Rip-Off: The true cost of counterfeit electrical products, (2015). This found an increase in the number of counterfeit electrical goods being sold in the UK, particularly through online retailers.
- Electrical Safety First press release, Dangerous fakes being sold through leading online retailers, 26 November 2015
- The London Fire Brigade provides advice on Fire Safety at Home: Preventing Electrical Fires.
- London Fire Brigade press release, White goods ‘time bomb’ exposed, warn fire chiefs 14 March 2016
- City of London Police, Guidance on counterfeit goods
- BBC, Rip-off Britain, Faking It: When counterfeit electrical items go wrong
- Intellectual Property Office, Annual IP Crime Report 2014/15, 24 September 2015
- Intellectual Property Office, Counting the Cost of Counterfeit Goods, 19 January 2016
- European Commission, Advice on CE Marking in the EEA
- Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Electronic goods: international trade regulations
- StatsWales, Accidental primary fires by cause and source of ignition
- DCLG, Fire Statistics Great Britain
The following is a small selection of recent Parliamentary business relevant to this debate.
- Consumer Protection [HC Deb 15 March 2016 c780]
- Fires: Housing [29289, 1 March 2016]
- Fires: Electrical Safety [27722, 22 February 2016]
- Care Homes: Electrical Safety [27591, 26 February 2016]
- Care Homes: Electrical Safety [27176, 22 February 2016]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6739, 22 July 2015]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6744: 21 July 2015]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6743: 21 July 2015]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6742: 21 July 2015]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6741 21 July 2015]
- Electronic Equipment: Safety [6740:21 July 2015]
Early Day Motions
EDM 754 of session 2015-16, Counterfeit Electrical Goods
EDM 632 of session 2014 –15, Counterfeit Products Online and Electrical Safety
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:
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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