According to research by several consumer organisations, non-EU online platforms like AliExpress, Amazon or eBay) sell a huge number of products that do not comply with European safety regulations. Their advice is clear: do not buy items on such sites.
165 of the 250 products concerned did not adhere to the European safety standards. Two thirds of USB chargers and half of the powerbanks were prone to short-circuits and/or were not protected (enough) against overheating, as were half of the Christmas lights. More than half of the cosmetics products lacked (at least) a list of ingredients, but especially cosmetics aimed at children performed absolutely appallingly. Children's items were also underperforming in the clothing department.
Other reasons for concern were all the bike helmets (sold without a safety label), all balloons (containing carcinogenic substances), all smoke detectors (not one did detect smoke) and all CO detectors (not one did detect CO AND gave a loud alarm).
Belgian consumer organisation Test Aankoop told local news station VRT that "We advise to only buy in European web shops, which do adhere to European safety regulations, or to buy offline in a shop. "If these things are so cheap, it means that there is a reason for it. Often, it is a case of very low quality, which often stems from a complete lack of safety measures in their country of origin", spokesperson Simon November said.
Six consumer organisations (Belgian Test-Aankoop, British Which, Danish Forbrugerrådet, Dutch Consumentenbond, German Stiftung Warentest and Italian Altroconsumo) bought 250 products on five major foreign platforms (AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, LightInTheBox and Wish) and had them tested for safety in laboratories.