Consumer watchdog contacted Amazon ‘dozens of times’ this year about safety alerts over products

Items highlighted by CCPC included paddling pools, hair straighteners and helmets

The consumer watchdog has written to retail delivery giant Amazon dozens of times this year about safety alerts over products that were being sold online.

Among the items flagged by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) were paddling pools, toy bow-and-arrow sets, hair straighteners and helmets. The CCPC said it was not possible to say how many times it had been in touch with Amazon over the past two years, but said much of the correspondence was “routine in nature”.

In a sample of communication between the two so far this year, the retailing giant detailed the investigations it had undertaken on how many customers in the State had bought products that ended up being withdrawn.

During July, Amazon was asked about a touch control table lamp that UK authorities had issued an alert about due to a “high risk of electric shock”. In an email, the company told the CCPC: “We can confirm that this product has been removed on 03/03/2023 following an authority request from UK Trading Standards. A total of 372 units have been sold in the Republic of Ireland in relation to this referral.”


Another case in July involved a string light bulb chain that was considered to have a “high risk of electric shock”. Correspondence from Amazon to the CCPC said just more than 900 of these had been sold in the Republic and that all customers had been contacted by email to tell them the item should not be used.

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In some cases, the retailer said that items flagged by UK authorities had not been sold in the Republic. One case involved a humidifier for babies, with Amazon saying it had checked its files, adding there was no records of any sales here.

The company was also asked about sales of a soft toy which had plastic eyes that were easily removable and were considered a choking risk. Amazon said 58 of the toys had been sold in the State, but that an email had been sent to all customers and no “incidents or injuries” had been reported.

Another report detailed the removal from sale of tea lights, of which 132 had been sold in the Republic, and an inflatable snowman, of which 29 were purchased by customers here.

The records also show how, in some cases, Amazon had already removed products from sale before being contacted by the CCPC.

One email from the consumer watchdog said: “Can you please confirm were you contacted by another party to do so eg the [Office for Product Safety and Standards] in the UK, Which? Consumer Body, consumers? And if so, who advised you to remove this product?”

Other queries concerned high levels of chemicals in a bow-and-arrow set, and a handle that could break off a child’s buggy when on rough surfaces. Amazon confirmed that neither of those products had been sold in the Republic.

The CCPC also flagged an inflatable pool where the plastic contained an “excessive concentration” of two different chemicals. Amazon responded saying: “A total of 204 units have been sold in the Republic of Ireland in relation to this referral... we can confirm that this product has been removed on [19th April].”

In emails, the retailer said it always took all necessary actions to ensure customers were protected. For all of the issues raised in the correspondence this year, no accidents or incidents had been reported.

The CCPC noted that it was the market surveillance authority for goods such as toys, low voltage equipment, PPE and some other consumer products. A spokeswoman said: “Our product safety division’s (PSD’s) correspondence with online platforms such as Amazon is routine in nature and is to protect consumers from risks of injury related to products sold on these platforms.

“PSD may contact Amazon to ensure that products which have been deemed unsafe are no longer available to Irish consumers.”