Consumer group Which? has warned Brits against buying hand sanitisers on online marketplaces eBay (EBAY) and Etsy (ETSY) as some have been found to make misleading claims about alcohol content and risk leaving people unprotected against COVID-19.
Three hand sanitisers bought from online marketplaces eBay and Etsy did not contain the percentage of alcohol that was claimed on either the product listing page or the packaging, and were far below the recommended levels for killing off viruses, Which? scientists found when they tested 18 products available at high street retailers, supermarkets and online marketplaces.
Klenzy Hand Sanitizing Gel, which was available for sale on eBay, claimed to have 75% alcohol content, but in reality contained just 10%. For hand sanitiser to be effective at killing the COVID-19 virus, it should contain 60% to 90% alcohol content.
The VaidaMakeup Hand Sanitiser Gel, bought on Etsy, contained only 33% alcohol content and Hansan Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser on eBay was only 35% alcohol. Both claimed to contain 70% alcohol.
Ebay told Which? it had removed both the flagged product listings and that the sellers would no longer be permitted to sell hand sanitiser on the site.
The Etsy seller told Which? that it had removed the listing and contacted all customers to warn them of the lower alcohol content in the sanitiser and to offer a full refund.
All of the hand sanitisers Which? tested from high street retailers and supermarkets, including Boots, Superdrug, Tesco (TSCO.L), Waitrose and Wilko, passed the tests and contained their stated levels of alcohol content effective in killing viruses and bacteria.
Seven hand sanitisers bought from Amazon Marketplace (AMZN) also contained the stated and required levels of alcohol content for killing germs.
Which? is calling on online platforms to enhance their checks before including sellers on their sites and take strong action against those who make misleading claims.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: “It’s extremely concerning that hand sanitisers readily available on online marketplaces eBay and Etsy make misleading claims about alcohol content and could leave consumers unwittingly exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
“The good news is that our research shows that if you buy hand sanitiser from a known and trusted brand, it increases the chances of it doing what you need it to, but you could face more of a lottery if you are buying from lesser-known sellers on online marketplaces.”
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