Charity issues warning over ‘dangerous’ energy saving devices for sale online

A charity has warned that “highly dangerous” devices claiming to help householders save on their energy bills amid the cost-of-living crisis are for sale online.

Charity Electrical Safety First said video footage shows the devices exploding, risking fire and electric shock.

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Some of these devices are available on eBay, which said it took the findings “extremely seriously” and immediately removed the products from sale.

What are the products?

Electrical Safety First investigated the products after adverts claimed these devices saved energy or will “stabilise electrical current”.

The charity bought four, one from and three similar devices via eBay. All four devices were sent to an independent lab for specialist testing.

All four devices were sent to an independent lab for specialist testing, but they all failed basic safety standards, posing a fire risk and electric shocks.

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The video footage captured during testing of the product’s capability to safely handle a short circuit, shows the device exploding and sending fragments of hot glowing metal into the air.

Further testing found failures with the size and dimension of plug pins, risking damage to the mains wall socket.

Energy saving claims are broadly linked to internal electronic components called capacitors to “smooth the electrical current” but in one of the devices, the capacitor was not connected internally, so the component was useless.

What has been said?

The findings come as consumers are urged to save energy anywhere they can to cut soaring bills.

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Electrical Safety First chief executive Lesley Rudd said: “Claims surrounding energy savings will undoubtedly be more attractive to people during this time yet the devices we have tested could cost you your safety.

“Given the current climate and hardship people are facing, the safety failures present in each of these devices are even more contemptible. We urge everyone to buy from a reputable retailer that you know and trust to protect yourself from dangerous goods.”

The charity has also shared its findings with the Advertising Standards Authority over concerns about the products’ energy-saving claims and with the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

An eBay spokesman said: “We take product safety extremely seriously, and welcome the information provided to us by Electrical Safety First about these products.

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"In addition to our block filter algorithms and security teams monitoring the site, we work closely with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure eBay remains free of unsafe products.

“In this instance, our close working relationship with Westminster Trading Standards enabled the swift removal of these products through our Regulatory Portal.”

Electrical Safety First said it also contacted the seller of the unit purchased from but had received no confirmation of any action taken, and the products remained on sale.