Amazon withdraws several child car seats from UK sale after safety risk uncovered


Online retail giant Amazon has withdrawn multiple lines of child car seats after an investigation identified an issue with safety. The allegations are part of an hour-long BBC Panorama investigation into Amazon’s dominance of the online marketplace, which airs on BBC One on Monday 17 February.

A spokesperson for Amazon told “Safety is extremely important to us and we regret that these products were available from third party sellers using our stores.

“After a thorough investigation, we identified the issue and are removing these products, and we’re also contacting each customer who purchased one of these products to explain the situation and issue a refund.

“We will continue to leverage and improve our tools and technology to ensure only safe and compliant car seats are available worldwide.”

Four obscure brands were involved in the latest case.

With one listing described the product as being an “Infant Safe Seat” capable of preventing injury to a baby if a car urgently braked. It was on sale for just £3.99.

According to the the programme,Panorama attempted to contact the brands involved.

However, it received a reply from only one of them, which said it was not the manufacturer.

The programme purchased three of the suspect seats which appeared to be in a similar design to some of those involved in the 2013 case and lacked safety labels.

The documentary-maker alerted Surrey Trading Standards at the start of January.

Officers have begun a fresh investigation but have yet to publish their findings.

At present, the operators of online markets, including Amazon Marketplace, are exempt from liability if they are not aware of illegal content being sold on their platform, according to a BBC report.

Amazon’s UK chief said the company took proactive steps to ensure the products it sold were safe.

Rachel Greer, a manager for product safety for Amazon in North America and Canada at the time, told Panorama she had called for a review of all car seats for sale on Amazon’s UK platform.

Seats which were non-compliant were removed, she said.

But she added when she requested the seats to be removed from sale in other countries, bosses at Amazon refused.

“I was told that there was no proof that they were non-compliant in those countries and that would not be happening,” she said.

In response to the allegations Doug Gurr, country manager for Amazon UK, told the programme the seats were removed as they were ‘not authorised for sale’.

Mr Gurr said: “It’s not that the products were unsafe, if they were unsafe we would have removed them everywhere.

“It was simply that they were not authorised for sale in the UK. Given that those products were authorised for sale in the US of course we allowed those products to continue to be sold in the US.”

When Amazon was later contacted about products similar to those identified as unsafe by Surrey Trading Standards, the online retailer said it had withdrawn the seats from sale worldwide.

Customers in the UK who have purchased one of the car seats received an email stating: ‘The product you received from a third-party seller may not be compliant with applicable child restraint standards.

“If you still have this product, please stop using it immediately, cut the straps to ensure it cannot be used, and dispose of the item.”

Watch BBC Panorama investigation into Amazon’s dominance of the online marketplace tonight on BBC One at 8:30pm 

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