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What to Look out for When Buying from Online or Overseas Retailers
The affordability and wide selection of household products available online is very attractive to those in search of a bargain. Many new homeowners arrange bulk purchases or rely on home renovation contractors to source for appliances and furniture, most of which are bought overseas.
However, homeowners need to be aware that safety regulations can vary greatly from country to country. You may not be adequately protected should you decide to buy from an overseas retailer. Always ask if a product meets local safety requirements.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying home appliances and electronics online:
General household items such as electrical, electronic and gas appliances under Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Regulations need to carry the SAFETY Mark before they can be sold in Singapore. Click here to learn more about the types of household items which requires a SAFETY Mark.
Photos from online marketplaces may show limited product angles so when in doubt, always ask the seller if the product has been tested for safety and bears a SAFETY Mark.
If the product description, pictures or videos do not clearly explain its features and functionality, never hesitate to contact the seller for more details.
A quick search online can often help reveal products that have been recalled by the manufacturer or had its sale stopped by regulatory bodies over safety issues. In addition to price, check out past buyers’ feedback, seller ratings and independent product reviews to thoroughly make sure no safety hazards or reliability issues exist.
Look for a seller that provides full product warranty by the manufacturer, customer service support and a return or exchange policy.
When buying electrical appliances online, technical specifications printed on the packaging may not be shown on the product page. Always contact the seller to ensure that it comes with plugs and voltages that are suitable for use locally. Do also check that the electrical appliance is defined as a Controlled Good, which is required to be affixed with a SAFETY Mark. You can check if the SAFETY Mark number is valid by keying in the details at the Register of Registered Controlled Goods.
In support of the Organisation for Economic Coorperation and Development’s Global Awareness Campaign on online safety, the CPSO encourages consumers to #PutProductSafetyFirst when buying products online. Here are additional tips to consider when making purchases online:
You can find more information on the OECD’s work consumer product safety here.