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Christmas lights could pose fire risk, warn consumer experts

‘Many of the cheap and seemingly cheerful Christmas lights we’ve tested from online marketplaces simply aren’t safe,’ says Which?

Olivia Petter
Monday 16 December 2019 11:35 GMT
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(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Christmas lights could pose a major fire hazard, according to new research from Which?.

The consumer group carried out a series of tests on Christmas tree lights and found that nearly half could cause either a fire or an electric shock.

For the investigation, Which? looked at 13 sets of lights purchased from third-party sellers at two high street shops and four online retailers.

The research found that six of the lights, bought from eBay, AliExpress and online marketplace Wish, failed to meet electrical safety standards.

Two sets of lights sold on AliExpress, costing £4 each, got so hot during tests that the control boxes melted.

However, two sets of lights bought from Argos and John Lewis & Partners passed all of Which?’s tests.

In light of the findings, Which? is advising shoppers to buy Christmas lights exclusively from recognised retailers.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “Many of the cheap and seemingly cheerful Christmas lights we’ve tested from online marketplaces simply aren’t safe, and we’ve found some even have the potential to set a tree alight.”

In response to the findings, eBay has said it does not allow the listing of unsafe products on its site.

“The items have been removed and the sellers advised to contact any buyers with the alert and their return policy,” the company told the BBC.

AliExpress added that it too had removed the products tested by Which?, adding that it has “procedures in place” to monitor the safety of its listings.

The Independent has contacted Wish for comment.

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