Warnings issued over electric blankets that fail simple safety tests
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It's getting pretty chilly these days and the cost of heating the home is so pricey that staying warm can be an expensive business.
Some places just can't afford to stick the heating on and people are naturally turning to cheaper ways to stay warm during the winter.
One of the more cost-effective things people can get to keep warm when they're at home is an electric blanket, and with energy bills going up, there's been a surge in people buying the snuggly gadgets to stave off the winter chill.
However, Which? has sent out warnings over the safety risks that come with certain electric blankets, especially those bought from dodgy dealers offering bargains that sound too good to be true.
Which? tested a total of 11 blankets from third-party sellers trading on Amazon, eBay, Wish and AliExpress, and found that nine of them couldn't be sold legally in the UK as they didn't include a UKCA mark or CE mark to demonstrate they adhered to safety standards.
For one of the blankets tested, Which? found that wires could be pulled out without much effort, and on another some of the electrical wires were coated in sealant rather than proper rubber tubing.
Further investigation found even more dangers, as three of the batch tested were so badly made that users risked electrocution just from plugging the blanket in.
Only three out of the 11 blankets passed Which?'s quality build tests.
Luckily, Which? flagged the faulty and outright dangerous blankets with the sites selling them and they've since been taken down, hopefully stopping anyone else from running the risk of getting a nasty shock.
On a more positive note, Which? tested electric blankets from a 'reputable UK retailer' and found that those ones were all safe.
They ran each blanket through the wash and tumble dry five times before subjecting them to a full electrical safety test, which all the blankets bought from trusted sellers passed.
If you've got an electric blanket and it's getting a bit tatty, and definitely if you can see exposed wires, then you should look into getting a replacement.
When approached for a comment by Which?, Amazon said: "We take safety and compliance very seriously and businesses are required to comply with all UK laws and regulations, as well as Amazon’s policies.
"When appropriate we remove a product from the store, reach out to sellers, manufacturers, and government agencies for additional information, or take other actions.
"If customers have concerns about an item they’ve purchased, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action. We have removed any products with non-compliant labelling."
Ali Express said: "The items identified as part of the investigation by Which? have been removed. As a third-party marketplace, AliExpress does not take custody of the goods being sold.
"We work hard to ensure that consumers are protected on our platform and have in place policies that all our third-party sellers must comply with to create a safe shopping environment."
eBay said: "We take the safety of our users very seriously, and we have removed the listings that Which? flagged to us. We have also searched the site for any similar listings which may be of risk. We use automatic block filters to try to prevent these products from being listed. These filters block millions of listings every year and are updated on a regular basis.
"On the rare occasion that an unsafe product does make it on to site, we swiftly remove it and provide product safety education to the sellers to prevent relisting. We also work closely with stakeholders and regulators to maintain our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe. Our Regulatory Portal also enables authorities from around the world to report listings of unsafe products, such as those flagged by Which?, for swift removal."
Wish said: "Product safety is a top priority for Wish. Each of the listings highlighted within this report have been removed from our European platform, as they clearly violate local laws and safety standards. We are also monitoring for any identical or similar listings and will take any further appropriate action."