A leaked government email has revealed a strange suggestion to replace the European standards mark that indicates if a product is considered safe by the manufacturer. Instead, it suggests using Amazon reviews – what do you think of this idea?
According to news reports, it seems that government officials are seeking ideas to change the UK safety system post-Brexit. And it looks like these ideas could weaken protections for consumers, in agreement with industry.
The news suggests that government officials have been approaching industry groups and asking for volunteers that would no longer have to demonstrate that they comply with existing product standards.
We can probably agree that the current safety regime hasn’t been working all that well – recent debacles with Whirlpool owned fire-risk tumble-dryers are a case-in-point. But is relying on Amazon’s customer reviews to show that a product is safe and conforming to safety standards really the answer?
At first, I thought this was a spoof from the Daily Mash. However, last night’s Evening Standard confirmed the leaked proposal.
The leaked messaged stated:
‘I actually wonder, given the UK consumer penchant for internet shopping, the extent to which an Amazon review will supersede any mark to demonstrate conformity with safety requirements’
In case you aren’t familiar with Amazon’s reviews, they’re created by registered Amazon members, and, according to Amazon’s website, you have to have been ‘successfully charged for the purchase of the physical or digital item’ in order to submit a review.
As a previous Amazon customer, I’ve found reviews helpful when deciding which boxset of Friends to buy, or if the Lord of the Rings extended edition Blu-ray is really worth the extra money (FYI, it is).
However, I’m not sure these reviews are really capable of setting the safety regime of the country. While there are some helpful reviews in there to help decide which DVD to buy, I personally wouldn’t solely rely on these reviews. After all, these customers are probably unlikely to be testing these products with safety criteria in mind.
I mean, we are referring to the same site where reviews like this appear:
As many of you will know, we’re pushing for the government to reform the UK’s product safety regime as it’s clear it’s not doing enough to protect us all. So news of a government department tasked with protecting consumers exploring such wild ideas is worrying.
In our opinion, it flies in the face of Ministerial commitments to not weaken key consumer protections through Brexit.
What do you think of this leaked suggestion to change the UK’s safety system? How would you improve safety as we leave the EU?