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A shameless plug for your two-pin plug comments

Two-pin EU plug

Two-pin plugs. Who would have thought such a topic would inspire so many comments. It seems being sent an electrical item without a UK plug turns most people off. Let’s have a look at some of your comments.

Most electricals should be delivered with a UK three-pin plug (some are exempt, like shavers and toothbrushes). The fact that some online retailers don’t do this started a lively debate.

There were loads of comments to choose from (more than 300 in fact), so I’m sorry if I’ve missed any of you out. Anyway, here’s Socketman to launch this round-up:

‘It is quite appalling that online sellers think it is OK to ignore UK law. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Trading Standards is organised on a local basis and find it difficult to tackle multi-national companies like Amazon.’

Amazon – let’s socket to them

Amazon was mentioned in a number of your comments, with third-party Amazon Marketplace sellers often posting out electricals with EU plugs. Alan bought a wireless adapter:

‘It came with a two-pin plug and extra adapter to connect up to a UK socket. Quite a cumbersome bit of kit. When I queried it with the supplier they said these were imported from Europe and they added the adapter for UK markets.’

It’s important to note that sending out an adapter isn’t good enough – any two-pin plugged appliance must be fitted with a conversion plug. Boglost bought a scanner:

‘It had a two-pin plug transformer on its cable. I didn’t realise that this type of plug was illegal in the UK and just considered it an inconvenience to use a two-pin adapter.’

Philip123 was also delivered a scanner with the wrong plug, but had a better experience:

‘I ordered a scanner in the summer and, finding it had a two-pin plug I returned it at [Amazon’s] request, for a refund. After a number of emails between us, in which they specifically claimed their stock had been checked at the warehouse and was now UK, not EU, I re-ordered. Same problem. As I really wanted the scanner I suggested they send me a £5 adapter or a credit note towards one. To my surprise they decided to give me 15% discount to keep the scanner and obtain my own adapter.’

Pulling the plug on two-pin plugs

Goodfoodie has had a bit of trouble with Argos:

‘I was bought a Kodak printer as a Christmas present, only to find the cable had a two-pin plug attached. Contacted Argos who offered to send me an adapter, which I declined stating that they had illegally supplied an item. I declined a refund as I want the item. Eventually I was put through to a supervisor and after several conversations […] they are posting me a correct cable.’

Not everyone was critical of two-pin plugged appliances. Sumbloke just fits UK plugs himself:

‘I buy most of my aquarium equipment online as there are massive savings to be had compared to buying from local aquatic dealers. Most of the equipment – heaters, filters and lighting come with two-pin plugs attached and a three-pin adapter is supplied for UK plug sockets. I just chop off the two-pin plug and install a three-pin plug. This is not an issue for me and I will certainly continue to support my favourite online dealers.’

If you, like Sumbloke, are happy to replace a two-pin plug with its three-pinned cousin, make sure you know how to change a plug safely. But, of course, you really shouldn’t have to. Have you ever ordered electrical goods online just for it to arrive with a two-pin plug?

Comments

Hi, I’ve just had a battery charger (for AA and AAA batteries) delivered from 7DayShop.com, a company I’ve used a few times over the years. In the box were the charger, a lead with USB sockets on either end and a three-pin plug. The latter is of the moulded type but doesn’t appear to be fused. There’s no ‘door’ for a fuse. Is this legal? The info on the plug says ‘Ktec AC Adaptor’ and the model no. is ‘KSUFB0500080W1UK’. Output is 5.0V. I won’t be using it until I’ve heard from you guys. Thanks in advance! Rob

Rob, what you describe is a power supply with integrated plug pins, not a ‘plug’. The fuse in a UK plug is there for the purpose of protecting the flexible mains cord between the plug and the appliance, but there is no flexible mains cord in this case. The international standards which apply to power supplies such as the one you have bought do include safety requirements to prevent overheating of the power supply, but you will not be able to see them without opening the supply case which would effectively destroy the product.

What is the issue? Just buy an adaptor plug! It is just that the UK, Ireland and Switzerland are not in synch with the international plug. Of course, the UK is not in synch with most of the modern-day countries.

There are no fully conforming adaptors on sale in the UK; most of them work but the interfaces can be weak leading to loose connexions and being prone to detaching from the socket too easily. There is no standard “international plug”; even within Europe there are several variations on two pin-plugs and they are not all inter-compatible [which is why UK-to-Continental adaptors have such generous tolerances since they are all compromises]. The UK modernised its electrical plugs and sockets in the late 1940’s and the rest of Europe has never caught up.

I have a hair curling tool from Germany that has been supplied with a 2 pin plug (the same as the shavers and toothbrushes are supplied with, it has no metal bits on the side etc) it says on it 250v can I change this and put a UK 3 pin plug on it? If so what amp fuse will I need? And if not can someone please recommend a decent adapter that will hold the lead in securely and not wobble about and fall out of, like they usually do. Thank you.

It sounds as though you are describing a Europlug, if so, and you bought a product which was being offered to UK consumers, then the supplier has committed a crime and you should contact them for a replacement, as well as reporting this to your local trading standards.

if this is a product which was not purchased in the UK and you imported it yourself, then you should change the plug and fit a 3A fuse (the Europlug is only rated at 2.5A), or, if you prefer, use a plug converter which fits securely around the Europlug and incorporates a 3A or 5A fuse (note, not an adaptor! adaptors are intended only for temporary use while travelling).
Here is one source:
http://www.kenable.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=5236&gclid=CNigv5eHlckCFQeNaQod0UoCGg

I’m in the UK and just starting an online shop and the European version of an item (a Braun hair shaver) is around 40% cheaper than the UK version. The plug is worldwide voltage but is a 2 pin European style plug. Would it be illegal to supply this to a UK customer even if we include this kind of adapter: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Travel-Adaptor-Plug-Worldwide-European/dp/B000P0FIUM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447880886&sr=8-2&keywords=uk+eu+adapter

Shavers and toothbrushes may legally be supplied in UK with either UK shaver plugs or Europlugs. Other appliances require to be fitted with a BS 1363 plug. Supplying a travel adaptor such as the one you mention (a device which is only intended for temporary use by visitors) with an appliance fitted with a UK plug is not a legitimate option, although a fitted conversion plug, such as the one I mentioned above, is.

hi.
a machine with a touch screen computer for its control pad.it is 240v
this computer is powered from the internal electrical panel of the machine and connected using a type f plug and socket
the socket is sited in the machine under a removable side panel
legal or not?

The regulations apply to “all electrical equipment generally intended for domestic use placed on the market in the UK”. Am I right in assuming that your “machine with a touch screen computer for its control pad” is NOT intended for domestic use?

I should be interested to read what Socketman thinks of this:

I bought a new Pure DAB/FM radio recently and was most surprised to find that the plug is basically a transformer unit to which has been fitted a detachable small plastic plate with the three pins corresponding to a UK socket. An alternative two-pin plate has also been supplied and there is a slide clip on the transformer to retain the relevant plate in position. There are two male terminal prongs on the transformer that engage with female openings on the plate. The whole assembly is a bit flimsy, and the plastic plate has a loose feel on the transformer. The sole function of the ‘earth’ pin on the three-pin plate is to open the shutters for the two current-carrying pins so it is entirely plastic, but it does not appear to be quite the same length as on a normal three-pin plug although I have not measured it yet. My main concern from a safety viewpoint is that when inserted in a socket the combined transformer/plug is upside down and top-heavy with the flex emerging upwards above the transformer/plug. Apart from looking ugly, it appears to lean away from the vertical and, given the lack of tightness in the connexion between the plate and the transformer body and its retention by a ‘soft’ slide clip, it might be possible for the transformer to be pulled away from the plate by accident exposing to access the two live openings for the transformer’s prongs. It is an ingenious attempt at producing a dual-standard plug by having a changeable socket pin plate but in my opinion it is no good and potentially hazardous. The next time I am in John Lewis I shall discuss it with them and see what they say, but since the transformer is fitted with a detachable socket pin plate I am not optimistic of a solution. I can’t even fit a compliant plug on the flex as the transformer housing is a sealed unit and the two exposed prongs would become live if one were to find a way of rewiring it in line between the plug and the radio. Thankfully this is virtually impossible.

John, that kind of arrangement is quite common now. The plugs and sockets regulations do not apply to power supplies with integrated plug pins, quoting from the guidance notes: “The Regulations are applicable only to certain products contained in the exclusion “Plugs and sockets outlets for domestic use” from Schedule 2 of the “Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994” (SI 1994 No. 3260). Therefore products containing components (other than a fuse link, switch or indicator light) are not considered as plugs and sockets but considered to be electrical equipment and covered by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No. 3260)”

Amongst other things this means that power supplies such as the one you describe must conform to the Low Voltage Directive and are required to have CE marking (whereas CE marking is illegal on domestic plugs and sockets). For the manufacturer to have satisfied themselves that the power supply is compliant with the Low Voltage Directive they will presumably have tested it to the relevant standard for switched mode power supplies.

Any investigation into whether the device is safe would also refer to BS 1363 as to pin dimensions, although the device itself is not within the scope of BS 1363. An investigator would pay attention to whether the detachable plastic plate exposed live parts when not attached, in the past power supply products which failed that have been recalled and banned from the market.

Thank you Socketman. I thought the power supply would probably be compliant in some way, or at least not non-compliant. I can’t say I like the arrangement, however, and prefer the method used by manufacturers of certain other low voltage products whereby the heavy transformer is in line part way along the cable between the plug that goes in the wall socket and the unit, usually at a distance that allows the transformer to rest on the floor so as not to exert any strain on the plug’s connexion with the socket. In my experience things that function well usually look right too and the converse is usually true as well.

I bought a bosch jigsaw online from a .co.uk website. This arrived with a moulded Euro plug. Nowhere in the description for the item did it say it would come with an Euro plug. Looking into it this is an international company based in europe but of course I didn’t notice that when I purchased the item as it was a UK domain with what appeared to be good ratings. There was no Euro conversion plug supplied but given that most of the ones I’ve seen online are 2 or 5amp and power tools are 13amp don’t think this would have been of any use had they sent one? The voltage is shown as 220v to 230v as opposed to UK voltage of 230v to 240v. It was made in Hungary looking at the label. The Euro plug does show an earth symbol so I think it does have earth wire inside. Can I safely cut the plug off and put a UK 13amp 250v plug on this? This company appear to be a big company with a high turnover but CS is practically nondescript. To return the item means sending it to a London address at my expense with my bank details which I do not feel comfortable doing given the poor Customer Service. They also double charged me for it (sytem glitch on their side I think) and I’m still trying to get that acknowledged by them and refunded. I purchased through paypal.

I don’t know quite what to do now to make the best out of a bad situation. The jigsaw is unusable as is. It sounds like (from what I have read here and other research) that what they have done in selling power tools with euro plugs from a UK domain to the UK market is illegal. Can I reject this item as unfit for purpose under the sale of goods act and get a refund? Or should I just put a UK plug on it if that is safe to do and try and make do.

Thank you

Frank says:
16 March 2016

Hello,
why do you advise against “permanent connection”? Many devices don’t need earth, so even a 5-8A adapter is perfectly fine with no time limits… unless the adapter won’t break, but that means not good quality…
kind regards

catherine birch says:
7 April 2016

I ordered an epilator from Ebay, only to find that it had one of those two round pin plugs attatched. I bought an adaptor, only to find that it won`t go in. I don`t know what to do now, apart from take it to an electrical repair shop to have a three pin square plug fitted because I don`t know if it`s safe to attempt to do it myself.

jim swain` says:
21 April 2016

I order an Aquaparx spa/hot tub from atheleteshop, an online retailer based in Dorset UK. The unit arrived with a two pin ‘euro’ plug which had a small windowed compartment with ‘trip’ and ‘reset’ buttons.

I feel apprehensive about using this unit with an adapter as they always seem a bit loose, Can anyone offer any advise as what to do, i.e. possibly changing the plug to a uk 3 pin or suggesting a suitable adaptor/converter plug

thanks in advance

I’d reject the goods as unsuitable for UK use. Have them replace it (if you still want it) with a correct plug.

The device with a reset button is a RCD, intended to reduce the risk of electrocution if there is a fault. The sockets in many homes are already protected by similar devices but I would never suggest removing any safety device from a product.

I do not like the idea of a spa/hot tub intended for outdoor use on mains voltage. Contractors always use 110V power tools when working outdoors, even when no water is involved.

Lisa Butler says:
12 July 2016

Just had a pool and Pool pump delivered with EU plug when I contacted them I was told he would refund me £8 for an adapted but a bit weary as its obviously for water and will be used outside. Will it be ok or should I return it?

It is illegal to supply a non-compliant plug so you should return it. A pool pump is a permanent installation so it should not be powered through an adaptor and an adaptor should certainly not be used in an outdoor location. These suppliers have to learn the hard way if necessary that they cannot just sell equipment from anywhere without UK-approved electrical plugs. If there are any problems, take it up with Trading Standards.

Most trading standards (maybe all) won’t talk to the public. You have to go through Citizens Advice who can give “standard” advice (non-expert) and maybe pass your complaint on to TS. They do not keep track of the complaint to see if it has been tackled or resolved.

We need a proper working system where complaints are visible and where we know what action is being taken. That, in my view, requires National Trading Standards to relieve CAB volunteers of their involvement, to log and accumulate complaints so we can see where products, services and traders are causing problems, and be assured that “something is being done” to protect consumers.

I have asked CAB and TS about Indesit dishwashers. No useful response from CAB, no response at all from TS.

Citizens Advice screens calls and decides who is best to deal with them. In each case that I considered relevant to Trading Standards details of my concern have been recorded accurately by CA and subsequently discussed the problem with TS. I have been impressed by CA but TS have never taken action. In one case they said they would take no action unless there were similar complaints about a small local business, even though they agreed I had a good case.

It’s standard practice to screen calls so that they are handled efficiently. Companies do it and councils do it.

I agree that we need the consumers’ voice to be heard by Trading Standards at national level, but maybe via organisations such as Which? that represent us. I do wish that Which? would keep us better informed about which cases they are working on at present.

Trading Standards can screen calls better than CAB – who do not have expertise. You may have had better experiences than I’ve had, but unless consumers can see how complaints accumulate and are dealt with (“TS have never taken action”) we get nowhere.

If a product receives a lot of complaints (LED life, interference, failing appliances, 2 pin plugs, Sony phones……) or a national company, or local traders, I’d like those to be made visible as it can affect how I make a choice. I also want to see how those problems have been dealt with. We are all consumers. We all deserve complaints to be efficiently and properly handled and to be protected from dodgy products, traders and services. Which? can not do this; it needs a committed national public organisation (and a government minister in my view).

From a blog written by someone who works for Trading Standards: “There is also the Citizen Advice consumer service. The consumer service was created to provide one place for everyone to go to get advice on their problems and to report issues to Trading Standards. Quite often you will find that when trying to contact Trading Standards you will be asked to contact the Citizens Advice consumer service in the first instance. The consumer service basically acts like a call centre for all of theTrading Standards departments. They will take down the details of your issue and provide you with advice. Every complaint goes on a database which is accessible by every Trading Standards.”

As I have explained it is normal for businesses and other organisations to screen calls and refer them to the appropriate department. In recent years, Trading Standards has not been adequately funded to cope with increasing demands and I don’t want their limited resources wasted on telling people that their concerns are not within the remit of Trading Standards.

CAB is not a trading standards organisation. It probably has enough to deal with already, including pensions advice!! through mainly volunteers. It is time we stopped papering over the cracks and set up properly funded organisations to work for consumers. Neither you nor I can see a TS database nor find out easily, if at all, whether any action is being taken. The “filter” should, like a hospital triage, be done by people who understand the business. We have National Trading Standards. They could assess enquiries far better than the national CAB.

I agree that we should have properly funded organisations and have said so on many occasions. For example, I suggested that we have an organisation to handle the registration of products and notification of owners about recalls, in the same way as DVSA alerts owners of car recalls. The present systems are ineffective and can lead to contact details being used for marketing by disreputable companies.

My local Citizens Advice did a good job of directing my cases to Trading Standards and on one occasion CA got in touch soon after to get my feedback on their handling of the case.

Olanrewaj abiodun says:
11 September 2016

I bought Tenjoy industrial sewing machine that came with two pin power plug and is working fine over a year ago, but my fear is when someone said every good product comes with three pin power plug please is this true. Because my machine came with two pin power plug.

I have just received a laminator from Germany. The laminator has been supplied with a Europlug CEE7/16 plug rated a 230Vac 2.5amps (the common European plug for low power appliances – it has 4mm diameter pins). The supplier has thrown in a UK adapter but this adapter is designed for the CEE7/7 plug. The CEE7/7 plug is designed for high power applications and has 4.8mm diameter pins. As a result the Europlug is not gripped by the socket and just falls out. This is dangerous. Having spent a lifetime in the industrial control sector I know, first hand, the devastating results from poorly managed electrical equipment even down to 240Vac. The government needs to get its act together and get on top of the new trading environment which now exists. I will be cutting the Europlug off and fitting a UK plug.

At least you understand the problem. I wonder how many people would resort to taping the plug to the adaptor.

Katrina Voysey says:
28 November 2016

i posted a question 27.11.16 about a hot glue gun con:p B27415 on amazon.co.uk. I asked “can someone confirm that this is sold with a UK plug and is not being illegally sold with a European plug?” I look in amazon today (28.11.16) and my question has been deleted. I have just spoken to amazon on the phone and they could not tell me why the question was deleted. They also seemed unsure what sort of plug it was being sold with. I asked to speak to a supervisor as Mia sounded so confused and unsure. (She seemed at one point to be saying that customers had the choice as to which product they bought, so amazon was not responsible if people bought products without UK plugs!). Eventually a supervisor Josan asked me to put the product into my basket so that he could identify it. He said “going on photograph, it has a European plug”. I said if it has a European plug then it is illegal – I was hoping photograph was wrong. He says that on 17 May 2015 , someone has commented that the plug is European. I say, if that is the case, are you still selling it illegally 18 months later? (There is also a comment that someone tried to plug into a shaver outlet and fused the outlet – sounding dangerous as well as illegal) Josan has submitted a complaint internally both about plug and as to why my question was deleted without me being informed. I apparently will not hear the outcomes, but I can check back on the website in a week to see if the product is being sold. If it is, I can apparently buy it knowing it has a British plug. I am not altogether sure I can trust Amazon.co.uk.

Good of you to keep ‘plugging away’ at this Katrina. It will be interesting to see what happens. If Amazon have any glue guns with UK plugs they should have advertised them and they should not be advertising those with Continental plugs for sale into the UK. I wouldn’t hold your breath for a compliant model; if you order one there is still a chance it will have a Continental plug on it in which case you should send it back. Don’t let them fob you off with an adaptor either, an approved ‘conversion plug’ [which can only be fitted to the plug using a tool] is not a satisfactory solution for this type of product either. Please keep us posted.

One of the problems with the Amazon website is that they refuse to show products with multiple variants all together, but most on-line retailers are guilty of this as well. It makes it harder to see if a more suitable product is also available.

If you want to give up on Amazon, you could try Toolstation or Screwfix.

graham says:
24 February 2017

I have just purchased a Klarstein mini oven 2500 watt and it has come with a 2 pin plug,is an adaptor safe to use to plug it into and then into my 3 pin socket on the wall in the U.K.
Any advise would be appreciated.

Adaptors are best avoided with any product that uses a lot of power, as your oven does. In the UK, it is legal to supply goods fitted with converter plugs provided that these are already installed. This is covered by The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, as explained in earlier posts in this or the earlier Conversation. Unless a converter plug has been fitted, you have a good reason return the oven to the supplier for a refund.

High quality electronic parts/spares company RS have taken to include text stating their products are sold with a British plug attached or (minority ) a Europlug. I just noticed that Wavechange was replying to Graham –Graham – not in my wildest dreams would I put 10 AMPS RMS through a two pin plug I don’t care how many BSI enthusiasts there are out there making excuses for this practice I personally have seen overloads using 2 pin plugs /blackened sockets plugs blown apart , my person advice DONT use it and yes I am prepared for flack on this by apologists but will they guarantee Graham COMPLETE safety and promise him its “okay ” to do it ? – no !

I have seen a few examples myself, Duncan. Good for RS and maybe it should be a requirement for all online advertising to make similar statements and provide a photo of the plug supplied in their product details.

duncan, you say “I don’t care how many BSI enthusiasts there are out there making excuses for this practice”. Where do BSI come into this?

I think all serious contributors to Which? Conversation have been entirely consistent in advising against any form of adaptation of the power connection for static domestic appliances. I cannot recall any tolerance being expressed for potentially hazardous electrical connections.

Wavechange has recommended you to reject the mini-oven as unfit for purpose and request a full refund. I endorse that. There is nothing you can do to make the product compliant with UK requirements. Even rewiring it with a three-conductor cable and a UK three-pin plug will not give you any additional protection since the double insulation will prevent full earth continuity.

John – I expect that the two pin plug will be something like the Schuko type with side-contacts for the earth connection. An oven is unlikely to be a double-insulated (Class 2) appliance. I agree that Graham should point out that the oven is ‘unfit for purpose’ which is the term used in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

In my experience, rewireable plugs were usually not wired safely in the days before moulded plugs were widely adopted and that is unlikely to have changed.

This is one of many examples of where Trading Standards could help consumers if they were given the funding to do so.

I am on the BSI website and I do have to agree looking at their -BS1363 webpage heavily condemns adapters also on another page they are angry at Amazon being allowed to import “dangerous ” electrical equipment to the UK and they criticize HMG (departments ) for allowing it , they say they got Ebay to stop it but it seems Amazon have some major clout with the Government. I did not say malcolm that you were personally approving those adapters but meant there have been posters on Which putting the case for their use and using the BSI arguement -well, is they aren’t doing anything then it must be “All right “

duncan, thanks. I was not suggesting what you didn’t suggest! 🙂 I was simply interested in knowing why you had mentioned BSI in the context of 2 pin plugs and adaptors. I am pleased you have reported what BSI think – in condemning them adaptors. BSI and the international standards organisation, do much to help our safety – as here.

Adrian Baird says:
24 March 2017

I recently bought an iron (Phillips) from an Amazon 3rd-party seller . This came with two pins and an adaptor. I have used the iron 4 times. Yesterday, the adaptor melted! Amazon have refused an a to z guaranteee (purchase made 37 days ago and outside their 30 day limi). I notice that the two pin says 16A 250 V and the adaptor (BS1363) is marked 13A 250V. Should I be using the iron with an adaptor at all? Have they supplied the wrong adaptor? I am clearly concerned because I may have luckily escaped an electrical fire.

I dont care who disagrees with me Adrian ! If your electric iron is a 3Kw version I defy anybody to justify using an adapter with it , I dont care is they are the head of the BSI –NO WAY should an adapter be used thats OVER 12AMPS AC RMS , I have watched British adapters melt under the same circumstances it only takes a slight loosening of the adapter connection to create large current sparks that could set your house on fire , I have seen whole ring-main sockets blackened and damaged . Your problem ,as I have posted previously on this subject , is that I read Amazons FULL conditions of sale on their US website and they disclaim any responsibility for third party sales as they quote- are only acting as AGENTS NOT as sellers and will not accept liability . They might do some goodwill but thats it . BEWARE !

I think we are overdue another update from Which? on where they have got to in their discussions with Amazon on their policy of denying any responsibility for non-compliance with the regulations in regard to the plugs fitted to appliances sold in the UK. It is illegal to expose such products for sale here and by facilitating their market place traders to offer these products via the Amazon website they are, in my view, exposing them for sale.

Apart from the legal niceties around Amazon, in my opinion Adrian’s iron is not fit for purpose and he should request the seller to refund the full purchase price – see :
http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

This Convo has been going on for over 4 years. Is Which? powerless to do anything about it?

halfpma says:
1 April 2017

I have just taken delivery of a Leiberr under counter fridge and Freezer from The GAS Superstore and I was disappointed to see they both have a European plug with a fused conversion plug provided for the use within the UK. As this conversion plug is so bulky it is causing the appliances to stick out excesivly from under the worktop when plugged in.
Can anyone advise if I could remove the two pin plug and replace it safely with a British plug ? Would this need to be earthed ?

Halfpma-I would reject the product as cutting it off and replacing it with a British plug would invalidate the guarantee. This product should be “double insulated ” as no earth is present in the cable conductor but it should be to British Standards . If the conductors are coloured marked , on a standard Euro plug the 230 V AC is the same colour as the British plug -brown. The problem with this “double insulated business is if the casing or other parts have their protective coating removed and they are made of metal the its possible to have a “live ” (230V AC) potential on the casing . If 3 conductors are present then the earth one should be the same colour as the British earth conductor.

It is likely the appliances fitted with Schuko two-pin plugs with side earth contacts. Converter plugs that encase the Schuko plug (and comply with the regulations) are available but as Halfpma says, they are very bulky. I have never heard of double-insulated fridges or freezers.

I agree with Duncan that the products should be rejected.

What bothers me Wavechange is that that Swiss company is a massive $8 billion company and supply the trade , either they couldn’t care less about the British market or the importers are buying cheap as it costs more in mass production for a British plug version . How come I can buy a fully commercial Samsung microwave in SS with a British three pin plug attached that is earthed from a highly reliable wholesaler in the north of England who guarantee their products for two years and send out engineers to you premises to repair them. This company -Leiberr is a high grade company , they should be more selective in their versions of products sold over the EU but its obvious their main market is Europe.

Liebherr are probably not responsible because they are the manufacturer, not the retailer. The retailer in question seems to be a UK company, but we do not know whether it bought from Liebherr or secured the appliances from a third party.

My domestic microwave oven is still working fine after about 35 years, though I have done a minor repair.

Having looked at the company’s website, my impression is that an approach to the retailer, The Gas Superstore, would produce a satisfactory solution. It is a family run company and has some fascinating historical pictures under the ‘About Us’ tab. It was clearly founded with the budget market and discounting in mind as it specialised in selling repaired appliances and still does a lot of repair work. It has expanded greatly over time and seems to cover a very wide range of brands, mostly the less well-known and unusual ones, in several domestic appliance categories. It presumably imports appliances from various different markets and adapts them for the UK market. Selling the products with approved conversion plugs attached is not a contravention of regulations so the company could insist it is under no obligation to fit new power cords with UK three-pin 13A plugs attached – however I think a request for such a modification as a goodwill gesture would likely bear fruit if it was pointed out that —
(a) the fitment of conversion plugs was not stated in the sales literature and that, since a UK purchaser is entitled to assume that without specific qualification a standard UK plug is fitted, the product is therefore not as described [a ground for rejection of the products under the Consumer Rights Act 2015], and
(b) that as appliances sold as suitable for fitting under a counter or worktop they will not do so in correct alignment with the counter due to the protrusion of the conversion plug from the wall socket, they are not fit for purpose [another proper ground for rejection under the CRA].

I should be interested to hear how Halfpma gets on.

Please note that Which? receives money from Amazon under a kickback scheme. This scheme used to funnel the money through pricerunner.com and this agreement dates from 2007. In late 2016 Which? finally started to reveal the fact it takes money through pricerunner for various companies, and through Amazon.

Whilst directing a consumer to a site where he browses and /or purchases is quite legal it is highly unusual for a charity to do it without advising users. There does exist a faint concern that there might be a conflict of interest. Which? has consistently rated Amazon’s Kindle as the best ereader. It may well be. What sticks in my craw is that since 2013 Which? have refused to advise readers that you can buy 9.7″ and 13″ ereaders which have good capabilities. Note I am not requesting testing just that readers are fully informed as some people with poor eyesight or those that read technical matters with diagrams would benefit.

The OECD says around 20% of mobile phones are are fakes, and these are mainly made in China. And much of the ancilliar batteries, chargers and cables also. I bet you can guess where most of them are sold through in the UK. ” Almost two-thirds of counterfeit ICT goods are shipped by express and postal services, significantly complicating the screening and detection process.”

“28/03/2017 – Nearly one in five mobile phones and one in four video game consoles shipped internationally is fake, as a growing trade in counterfeit IT and communications hardware weighs on consumers, manufacturers and public finances, according to a new OECD report.”
keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/trade-in-counterfeit-ict-goods_9789264270848-en#.WOAcAEC6wmY#page1

Patrick Taylor, I knew long ago about Which,s link with Amazon as I checked into its Eire server and other matters relating to it but I am a bit more blaze about it as it is part of the policies of a large number of websites and feel its up to me if I accept the prevailing conditions of not blocking certain tracking domains etc otherwise I wouldn’t be able to post this . I have said several times there is a lot going on “under the surface ” but again its no worse than most websites even it seems some technical ones like Krebs as I posted recently have done the same for gain . There are now many “invisible ” trackers providing info to third parties all over the place and on many US websites I am blocked completely with a black webpage because I dont use Java or have comprehensive cookie / domain blockers in action , I have many browsers now some with just the bare essentials to stop tracking no cache held / cookies removed on close-down and an info remover on my Linux PC when using all other websites . I have one more bit of tracking info for you , even with apps that block your country of origin guess how a website can still tell if you are English and not American ??? — by your posted language so if you use original English they know you are not American . Its a constant battle to keep up to date . I think your problem with Which is its aspect of policy in relation to charitable status and commercial enterprise which I think is inevitable here in the UK as many so called “charities ” are more like private firms in their pricing and advertising I dont see this going away only increasing but its up to you and others how you feel about it , I am used to American practices .

I think interception and tracking have become the victims of their own success – there is now such an information overload that it has become unmanageable and web users have become immune to advertising and other interventions in their browsing or active use. While physical newspapers are losing advertising at a terminal rate because circulations are falling as a reaction to on-line news availability, magazines are bloated with advertising because they address market segments efficiently, remain visible for long periods, and have presentational advantages not found on the web. Direct mailing is also holding up despite the presumed power of social media.

I see the small print in my April edition of Which? does tout that Which? is funded by subscriptions for services and products but does not claim that Which? is independent of advertising or other relationships with manufacturers.

Back in 2010, the corresponding text included the claim “We’re entirely independent – we take no ads and no freebies and we pay for everything we test”.

Which manufacturer will be the first official sponsor of Which?

Thank you to that have replied. I have emailed The Gas Superstore and asked them to arrange a collection of both appliances or a replacement with a UK power lead
I will let you know how I get on – lots of reviews suggest the company can be a nightmare to deal with. I wished I had checked the reviews first !

Wavechange – At the moment it’s a toss-up between VW Group and Whirlpool with Amazon and X-Hose also in the running.

Dash it John !!! you beat me to it .

Actually that is not that funny.

My view is that we have so stacked the Council and Board with businessmen that there view on any funding is to grow the business . That is why I campaign to get Ordinary members to realise that the charity has gained a good reputation and the more entrenched it becomes with commercial companies the harder it is to properly carry out it’s role of representing consumers.

I will be writing to Ordinary Members after the Half-Yearly figures are released later this month. If you are not an Ordinary member I cannot write to you. To be an ordinary member rather than a subscriber you need only download a form and promise to pay 50p if the charity goes bust.

At some stage, in the no too distant future it will all go sour. I used Carpetright as a Which? Trusted Trader. There were awful requiring four visits to do what was meant to be done in one, Partial delivery of carpet, carpet cut the wrong side, part of the order forgotten twice ….

So Which? have associated a good name with Joe Karnos army and takes a payment. Nice move Which?

There is a delusion that Which? Ltd is a foundation which kindly supports the Charity the Consumers’ Association whilst rather ignoring the fact that as a 100% owned part of CA – all the money is essentially CA’s. In case you wonder why there are two companies it is a tax thing worth a few millions a year.

Actually, I believe it’s Fred Karno’s Circus or Army. Must get the chaos right…

Darn. Joe Karno apparently is on Facebook ….

“Film producer Hal Roach stated: “Fred Karno is not only a genius, he is the man who originated slapstick comedy. We in Hollywood owe much to him.”[3] Among the music hall comedians who worked for him were Charlie Chaplin and his understudy, Arthur Jefferson, who later adopted the name of Stan Laurel. ”
Wikipedia – where it is easy to find information

That’s a bold claim – that Fred Karno originated slapstick comedy. America is a young nation so we have to make allowances. There was a lot of slapstick comedy in music halls and theatres in the UK from the early part of the 19th century, and it is arguable that “slapstick” goes back many centuries in European street theatre. My first witness is Mr Punch. I shall also call Harlequin who actually carried a “slapstick” to liven up the chaotic proceedings.

It was certainly in vogue during the Commedia dell’arte in the 15thC and possibly started as long ago as 400BC with the entertainments laid on for the rich when they tired of sleeping.