We all enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining a ‘good deal’. But bargain hunters can put their lives – and their homes – in danger when buying second-hand electrical goods. Unlike most other pre-used items, such as clothes or accessories, second-hand electrical items present a specific risk.
Electricity causes over half of the fires in UK homes and, between 2015-2016, they were responsible for 1,380 deaths and injuries – an average of 27 each week, or 4 a day. That’s why Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, visited Electrical Safety First’s recent event in Parliament – #NoSecondChances – where the charity offered a range of advice on the safety issues surrounding second-hand electrical products.
Gerald Jones MP said: “To the untrained eye it is not always easy to tell if a second-hand item has an electrical fault.
“Although externally it may look in pristine condition, internal faults arising from worn-out components, or a lack of modern safety features, could potentially cause a fire or electric shock.
“Government figures show that five fires a day in the UK are caused by white goods (such as washing machines, fridge-freezers, etc.) alone”, added Gerald. “And while the damage to property runs into millions of pounds, you can’t put a price on the personal cost. People need to be aware of the risk they are taking when they are buying second-hand electricals.”
TOP TIPS FOR BUYING SECOND-HAND
Electrical Safety First has developed a number of top tips to keep people safe when buying second-hand electrical goods:
- Always check and never buy a recalled product – take a look at our recalled list at: https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/
- Try to avoid buying a second hand electrical product from an individual private seller, as your legal rights are minimal. But if you do, always check that the item has been PAT tested– your legal rights are minimal
- Do you trust the seller – are they an established and reputable business seller?
- Check reviews if buying online – do they have a good reputation?
- Is it complete? – Does it come with instructions and all parts?
- Finally – is it safe to buy? Remember, if they won’t say – walk away