The number of people injured every year as a result of purchasing faulty products remains a cause for concern despite the fact that many of these goods carry either the Kitemark and/or the CE marking. Goods displaying the Kitemark mean that the British Standards Institute [BSI] has independently tested it and has confirmed that the product conforms to the relevant British Standard. It then issues a BSI license to the company to use the Kitemark and the manufacturer pays for this service. The Kitemark, formerly known as the British Standard Mark, was created in 1903 and is the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product they have bought conforms to the appropriate British Standard and should therefore be safe and reliable. Well – that’s the theory!
The reality is that thousands of people are injured through using faulty products but this isn’t helped by the fact that the majority of consumers ignore recalls for faulty products and put themselves at risk by using electrical goods that could cause a fire or electrocution. Around 70 people are killed each year, and many more injured, as a result of fires in cookers, fridges or tumble-dryers. There are examples of injuries caused by garden furniture collapsing, electric lawn mowers catching fire, brakes that fail on a car that has just been serviced, hair products that cause severe scalp burns, children injured playing with faulty toys and these examples highlight the true the scale of the problem. I’m referring to both legitimate and counterfeit goods of course and a recent television programme highlighted how thousands of products were seized by Council Trading Standards Officers in London which included fake mobile phone chargers which can catch fire, bottles of vodka that didn’t just contain vodka, and counterfeit make-up that contained harmful ingredients.
This is the time of year when shopping for the right gift at the right price reaches its height and there are a lot of counterfeit goods out there. Be careful, check the quality, ask questions, if the price is too good to be true it is probably ‘too good to be true’. Keep the packaging and if you want to avoid a trip to A&E – read the instructions!
Enjoy your Christmas Shopping.