Amazon and eBay under fire for selling 'unsafe toys'

Abigail Fenton
Photo: Which?
A listing of a Squishies cake slice toy, which was recalled in 2018 due to a risk of choking or suffocation, went unnoticed by eBay for two weeks.Photo: Which?

Amazon and eBay are failing to prevent listings of “unsafe” toys on their websites, according to Which?

The consumer watchdog said it found listings of toys on Amazon Marketplace and eBay that have been declared unsafe by Safety Gate, the EU safety alert system.

Which? checked both websites for products registered as dangerous on the Rapex Safety Gate network, which lists products that have been recalled, withdrawn or stopped at the border due to safety concerns. It checked alerts as far back as 2017.

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Ebay removed 12 products brought to its attention by Which?, while Amazon removed five.

Which? also created new listings for products it believed posed a risk to children, including the Squishies cake slice toy, which was recalled in 2018 due to a risk of choking or suffocation.

Despite the toy being easily identifiable via its image and barcode number, the listing remained live for two weeks before Which? chose to take it down itself, it said.

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“Shortly after closing the listing, we received an email from Amazon telling us the listing was being removed due to the alert on [Safety Gate’s] database,” Which? said.

The toys are classified as dangerous due to a number of reasons, Which? said. These include high levels of a toxic chemical that can damage reproductive systems, volume levels that could harm a child’s hearing, and small parts that can detach and cause a child to choke.

HTI Teamsterz Slime, which was listed on eBay, contains more than seven times more boron than the maximum level according to EU safety standards.

Source: Which?
HTI Teamsterz Slime. Photo: Which?

The Transformers Optimus Prime robot helmet, also listed on eBay, is believed to cause damage to children’s hearing.

Source: Which?
Transformers Optimus Prime robot helmet. Photo: Which?

And the Rong Kai Toys Dinosaur Century Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was listed on the US Amazon Marketplace, was recalled because it contained an “excessive” amount of lead.

The Rong Kai Toys Dinosaur Century Tyrannosaurus Rex toy listed on Amazon Marketplace. Source: Which?
The Rong Kai Toys Dinosaur Century Tyrannosaurus Rex toy listed on Amazon Marketplace. Photo: Which?

An Amazon spokesperson said: “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account.

“The products in question are no longer available.”

An eBay spokesperson said: “While eBay goes beyond the legal requirements for safety, we are constantly working to improve the systems and policies already in place on our site and welcome further clarification on guidelines so we can continue to play our part in ensuring consumer safety.

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“Our filters automatically blocked 5 million listings from entering the marketplace on product safety grounds between October 2018 and October 2019.”

Earlier this month, Which? reported that baby teething toys from online retailers failed standard safety tests designed to see if parts of the toy broke off.

During the tension test, parts small enough to be swallowed or inhaled detached from the toys, Which? said.