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Government campaign to improve safe shopping online launched

16 November 2018 - 10:22 by Simon Crisp

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Over the past few days the government has been pushing a major campaign as part of International Product Safety Week, with the aim being to make consumers aware of the risks they face when making online purchases.

The project has also focused on the fact that it is the responsibility of sellers to make sure that the items they are offering to customers in the UK are eligible for import in order to avoid snafus when passing through customs. This is especially relevant at a time when cross-border e-commerce is far more common.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards cited statistics which showed that just over half of all products which were assessed in a wide ranging study were found to be lacking in terms of regulatory compliance. This means that many items which are sold online are either from discontinued ranges or those that have been recalled for some breach of safety guidelines.

Sellers are reminded that they need to provide as much information to prospective buyers as possible, including details of any product safety specifications. Furthermore they should outline contact info so that if there is a problem it is easy for consumers to get in touch, rather than being left in the lurch.

This advice clearly applies to sellers and buyers that make use of online marketplaces, which may be operated by reputable brands but which ultimately rely on smaller third parties to make sure that everything runs smoothly and in line with UK law.

For people looking to buy products online, it is important to remember that all care should be taken to ensure that the seller is reputable, the item is adequately well described and the safety standards that apply to all products sold in the UK are being met.