Heaters being sold on TikTok and Temu 'could explode', watchdog says

By John Mercury February 9, 2024

​​​​​​​Electric heaters that could explode, cause electric shocks or start house fires are being sold on TikTok and Temu, consumer group Which? has warned.

The watchdog bought and tested eight heaters costing as little as £7.20 from TikTok Shop and Temu, finding that six were unsafe.

Testing found the £7.20 XH-1201 1200W portable electric heater bought from TikTok was a fire hazard and also an explosion threat, which could cause electric shocks.

Which? found 16 sellers listing the heater on TikTok, quoting 223 sales.

An identical £16.98 portable space heater purchased from Temu from a listing that stated 2,100 had been sold was similarly found capable of giving users an electric shock, causing a fire or blowing up, Which? found.

Another heater, the X7 Portable space heater sold for £14.99 on Temu, had not been properly assembled and the live parts were easy to access, running the risk of electric shock.

The seller Which? bought from had sold 353 of them, but researchers found two more sellers listing identical products and claiming 8,900 sales between them.

The NFJ004 Portable electric heater costing £15.99 on TikTok was so badly made that it too could give owners an electric shock, catch fire or explode, testers found.

Overall, three of the five heaters bought through TikTok for Which? tests were “dangerously unsafe” and the instructions for a fourth were lacking key safety warnings, while all three heaters bought through Temu presented a danger to anyone using them.

Only one of the eight heaters Which? tested from TikTok and Temu was both safe to use in the home and legal to be sold in the UK.

When Which? searched for ‘electric heaters’ on TikTok, it found five videos within the first 100 results promoting the dangerous products, which were marked “paid partnership” or “commission paid”. The videos had more than 100,000 views between them.

Both TikTok and Temu have removed all heaters that failed the testing, along with 27 listings for identical dangerous heaters.

However, Which? said it had found that more similar listings had since appeared in their place.

It has called for online marketplaces to have more legal responsibility for unsafe and illegal products sold to consumers via their platforms.

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Which? head of consumer protection policy Sue Davies said: “It’s vital that the government urgently gives greater legal responsibility to online marketplaces for unsafe products so that they are forced to take action to prevent dangerous products ending up in people’s homes.”

Temu said all four heaters identified by Which? as safety hazards had been removed from the platform.

The platform said: “We deeply regret any concern or inconvenience caused by the safety issues identified in four electric heaters on our platform. The safety of our customers is our highest priority, and we have taken immediate action to address this issue.”

TikTok said: “If TikTok finds merchants or products that violate their policies, they remove them.”

A Department for Business and Trade spokeswoman said: “Manufacturers and suppliers are required to place only safe products on the market and are responsible for issuing instructions on how a product can safely be used. If anyone has concerns about an unsafe product, they should provide the relevant information and we will consider it.”

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