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Buyer Beware!

Buying on Amazon

In the UK we have a raft of rules and regulations designed to ensure that you are protected when you buy something. So can you be sure what you are buying is safe? Sadly this is not the case any longer.

A few months ago a baby died because the parents bought a cot off of Amazon which wasn’t safe. Last month we learn that there are car seats for sale which wouldn’t protect your child in an accident. And this week we learn that there are teethers on eBay which are copying Gummee Glove yet don’t appear to comply with any standard. See here to see what one supplier has to say

There are baby walkers which again aren’t fit for purpose and I’m sure there are many, many other dangerous products easily available on ebay and Amazon which are tempting. Indeed why pay more when what you want is available for a few pounds on these websites?

The law as it stands at the moment says that if a product isn’t safe, then it is a matter between you and the retailer. If you were to buy from, say, John Lewis, and the product harmed your child, then you could take John Lewis to court! Obviously, both are undesirable, so like all responsible retailers, they ensure that they only sell products which have been tested and shown to comply with all the relevant standards.  Believe you me, they are very diligent. They understand the technicalities. They take care that products are safe so you don’t have to worry.

However, buying from Amazon, eBay and several other sites is different. They are merely platforms; they enable other people to sell. So if you buy something that is unsafe then it isn’t Amazon or eBay that is responsible, it is the person you bought it from. A number of the sellers are not from Britain so taking them to court is impossible for an ordinary consumer. And don’t assume that if the site ends in co.uk or gives a UK phone number that it is a UK based company. Again, it may not be.

Another reason why these products appear cheaper is that if the company is not UK based, then the company doesn’t pay VAT – so that’s a saving of 20% straight off! HM Revenue and Customs has estimated that across all online sites, the taxpayer could be losing more than a billion pounds a year.

Once alerted, the sites remove offending companies. However, the product just reappears almost instantaneously under a different company name!

So to all intent and purpose, you have no assurance on the product you are buying. It might be safe; it might not. It might be the brand it is claiming to be; it might not. Like the car seats mentioned above, it could fail just at the moment you need it most.

One thing you can be sure of, buying4baby.info only promotes products from reputable companies; companies that have taken the time and expense to prove that their products are safe; companies that care about you, not simply making a profit.

It may be cheaper to buy on these platforms than a similar looking product in the shops but when we’re talking about the safety of your child is it worth it?

Too many parents feel it is – are you one of them?