#DontBeElectricked – A warning about unsafe electrical items

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During the first lockdown I finally succumbed to downloading TikTok… and was surprised to find it can actually be educational as well as entertaining, but it definitely helps me waste time. Earlier this year it turned out it helped me to waste some money too. I kept seeing adverts for a hair styler that was obviously based on a Dyson Airwrap. Depsite never falling for this sort of thing before, after I had watched 6 or 7 videos of various TikTokkers extolling the virtues of this hair styler and how great it was for the price I gave in and ordered one for twenty pounds (I know, I know….)

By the time it arrived a couple of weeks later and I took it out of the box I knew it definitely was too good to be true, and it didn’t function like a proper Airwrap did. What it did do though, was get very hot very fast – and as it was made of plastic this wasn’t ideal. I unplugged it, let it cool down and then disposed of it, because I knew something wasn’t right. There’s a photo of it below that I took and sent to my husband when it arrived to prove I’d be ripped off…  there was an “I told you so” fair, I think. This is coming from someone who is closer to forty than thirty, you’d think I would have trusted my gut instincts on it (and saved my cash!) but apparently not. I won’t be doing it again, because it  could also have been pretty dangerous had I kept using it.

The huge rise of social media advertising, as well as an increase in availability on eBay and Amazon has meant that these eletrical items are more readily available than ever before. However,  when they’re manufactured by a less reputable third party it means that they don’t have to comply to the same safety regulations that are designed to keep us and our homes safe. This  means they’re at risk of malfunctioning, and causing great damage, or even worse, injury and death. Take a look at the video for better understanding.

Electronics like phone and laptop chargers, can be especially dangerous as they can cause batteries to over heat and explode, causing damage and house fires.

Electrical Safety First has started a petition to change the law so that online marketplaces will have to:

  • follow the same safety regulations as other UK retailers
  • make sure that electrical goods offered for sale on their sites by third party sellers are safe for use in the UK
  • ensure that any electrical products reported as unsafe must be removed from the site within 24 hours

You can sign that petition here.

Here are some important things to watch out for when you’re shopping online:

  • Don’t trust that the image displayed on the advert is a true representation of what you will receive (it wasn’t in my case!)
  • Look for the seller’s contact details and be wary if there aren’t any. Many fake electrical goods are made and supplied from overseas where they will not be safety tested. (stupidly, I have no idea who sent that hair styler, so there was nobody to complain to – had I thought it would make a difference!)
  • Don’t rely on reviews, these can easily be faked.
  • If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is!

You can follow the petition progress  #DontBeElectricked on twitter,  instagram and on facebook and find out more information about the dangerous electronics.

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