Nearly half of toys bought online from third party sellers ‘unsafe and non-compliant’, finds new report

The British Toy and Hobby Association is now calling for changes to the law

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Nearly half of toys bought online from third party sellers are “unsafe”, according to a new report.

The report - which was commissioned by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) - found many of the toys had the potential to choke, strangle, burn, poison and electrocute children.

The study found that out of the 255 toys that were randomly selected, inspected and tested, 88% were illegal and 48% were unsafe for a child to play with.

The BTHA is now calling for changes to the law so that children can play safely following the report, which tested items bought via Amazon, eBay, AliExpress and Wish.

Many of these sellers are based overseas, outside the jurisdiction of UK enforcement , which has led to calls from the BTHA for stricter product safety laws.

Natasha Crookes, Director of Public Affairs for the BTHA, said: "It is not acceptable that unsafe and non -compliant toys are simply allowed to enter the UK market, putting children at risk of serious harm.

"We believe the government has to step in to legislate this wild-west of safety and we must see politicians from all sides of the House coming together to protect children as part of the UK review of the product safety framework in 2021."

‘We take the safety of our users extremely seriously’

In a statement to Sky News a spokesperson for eBay said it takes “the safety of our users extremely seriously” and “have removed the products identified and have taken appropriate action on the sellers”.

The spokesperson added: “We continue to work closely with authorities including Trading Standards and OPSS to help ensure sellers and listings on eBay comply with laws and regulations.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to consumer safety, we have filters in places which automatically block listings which are unsafe or do not comply with our policies. These filters blocked millions of unsafe listings from making it onto site.

“Our teams also work around the clock as an additional safety net to manually review and remove anything which may not have been caught by our filters".

A spokesperson for Wish also told Sky News: "All merchants trading on our platform undergo certain checks before being permitted to trade. They are also required through our Merchant Policies and Terms of Service to adhere to all applicable product compliance laws and regulations, including local laws and safety standards, wherever their goods are sold.

"Where a product doesn’t meet those standards, it is promptly removed and, where deemed appropriate by Wish, the responsible merchant has their account privileges revoked, faces suspension, or even removal from the platform."

A spokesperson for AliExpress said: "We are investigating the items identified by The British Toy and Hobby Association Report and we will take appropriate action in accordance with our platform rules, including where applicable removal of products and penalising sellers found to be violating our platform rules and regulations."

A statement from Amazon said: "Safety is important to Amazon and we are investigating the products in question as a matter of urgency.

"We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and we have proactive measures in place to prevent suspicious or non-compliant products from being listed."

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