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    • Hi @BankFodder
      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
      So I issued the claim on day 15 and they requested more time to respond.
      They took until the last day to respond and denied the claim, unsurprisingly saying my contract was with Packlink and not with them.
      I opted for mediation, and it played out very similarly to other people's experiences.
      In the first call I outlined my case, and I referred to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 as the reason to why I do in fact have a contract with them. 
      In the second call the mediator came back with an offer of the full amount of the phone and postage £146.93, but not the court costs. I said I was not willing to accept this and the mediator came across as a bit irritated that I would not accept this and said I should be flexible. I insisted that the law was on my side and I was willing to take them to court. The mediator went back to Hermes with what I said.
      In the third call the mediator said that they would offer the full amount. However, he said that Hermes still thought that I should have taken the case against Packlink instead, and that they would try to recover the court costs themselves from Packlink.
      To be fair to them, if Packlink wasn't based in Spain I would've made the claim against them instead. But since they are overseas and the law lets me take action against Hermes directly, it's the best way of trying to recover the money.
      So this is a great win. Thank you so much for your help and all of the resources available on this site. It has helped me so much especially as someone who does not know anything about making money claims.
      Many thanks, stay safe and have a good Christmas!
        • Thanks
    • Hermes and mediation hints. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428981-hermes-and-mediation-hints/&do=findComment&comment=5080003
      • 1 reply
    • Natwest Bank Transfer Fraud Call HMRC Please help. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/428951-natwest-bank-transfer-fraud-call-hmrc-please-help/&do=findComment&comment=5079786
      • 31 replies
    • Hermes lost parcel.. Read more at https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/422615-hermes-lost-parcel/
      • 49 replies

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The UK has the safest mains plugs and sockets in the world, however there are many illegal and dangerous counterfeit plugs being sold.


Counterfeit plugs are often distinguished by having partially sleeved earth pins in clear contravention of BS 1363, that means that they cannot be legally sold (The Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations (1994)). Despite that they are freely available from (amongst others) many ebay sellers, and even Amazon!


Some of the counterfeits also have counterfeit fuses fitted, others have no fuses whatsoever! (To see what a counterfeit fuse can do, watch the video on the website at www dot bs1363.org.uk - this has lots more information and includes samples of ebay and Amazon sales listings.


One unexpected aspect of this despicable trade is that ebay have shown far greater responsibility than Amazon. ebay have so far removed over 60 listings of power leads since a trading standards officer first raised it with them one month ago, but Amazon simply say they are "investigating" whilst continuing to ignore the law and carry on selling these potentially lethal items!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Amazon continue to sell these dangerous cables, they clearly believe themselves to be above the law!


The worst examples (so far) are on amazon.co.uk, search for B0011YNM90




On that one listing they have 31 suppliers, I have test bought from several of these, some have been legal (including Volex ones), others not. The cables supplied through Amazon by "Star e-shop", and "eBlink" have to be seen to be believed, this is what I found:

  • Counterfeit fuse ( a very crude imitation with no approval marks, no sand filling, loose end caps)
  • The fuse was cosmetic and not connected to anything, the line wire is connected directly to the line pin (resulting in danger of fire)
  • Partially sleeved earth pin (resulting in intermittent or no connection to socket earth - danger of death)
  • All pins are the wrong size (and some have severely misaligned pins)
  • The moulding of the plug/cable assembly has taken place with the fuse carrier and fuse in place, with nothing to prevent the moulding material flowing into the fuse chamber, one of the samples was almost entirely filled in this way completely sealing in one end of the fuse.
  • The plug is marked: " KING CORO", "APProved bY BSI" and "Licence No 41231" with a counterfeit Kitemark
  • The C5 connector is wired in reverse
  • The flex cable is marked "CCC YF 227 IEC 53(RVV) 3x0.75mm2 300/500V GB5023.5-1997 MADE IN CHINA"
  • The resistance between plug and C5 connector is unusually high, suggesting that the conductors are far smaller than the 0.75mm2 claimed - confirmed by inspection. The actual conductor cross section is less than 10% of the rated value! (Results in danger of fire)
  • The outer covering of the cable is so weak (approximately the consistency of liquorice) that it can be easily peeled off using the force of finger nails only.
  • The colour coding of the wires is not in conformance with any known standard, the current carrying conductors are slate grey, and the earth is slate grey with a stripe of greenish white.
  • The insulation on the conductors is of a similar consistency to the outer covering, very easy to pull off with the fingers.

I find it difficult to express just how bad these cables are!


I have also received, from an Amazon seller in Hong Kong, another type with a counterfeit fuse.


You can see a photograph of the plug on the website bs1363.org.uk – (the picture is on the homepage and is the one shown against a blue background). The sample just received was of an even lower quality than the previous sample evaluated, it has very bad plating on the pins (looking somewhat like lumpy solder tinning) and the moulded material had been allowed to flow over all four sides of the red plastic fuse carrier, thus it was impossible to remove the carrier until that excess material had been cut away!




Other features of this lead are:

  • Counterfeit fuse ( a crude imitation, impossible to remove due to having been sealed into the fuse chamber by excess moulding material)
  • The fuse was cosmetic and not connected to anything, the line wire is connected directly to the line pin
  • Partially sleeved earth pin (resulting in intermittent or no connection to socket earth)
  • All pins are the wrong size
  • The C5 connector is wrongly labelled "10A", the C5 standard rating is 2.5A
  • The plug is branded: “guida”, with a counterfeit ASTA approval mark.

Beware, do not buy power cables from Amazon.co.uk or ebay.co.uk, there is no way of telling whether you will get a legal and safe product, or a dangerous counterfeit, especially with Amazon who mix good suppliers with bad in the same listing!

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Do ebay sellers from abroad have to comply with British standards for safety, etc ?. I bought a cheap laptop charger from ebay from china which very quickly got too hot and melted and seemed rather unsafe.



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Do ebay sellers from abroad have to comply with British standards for safety, etc ?. I bought a cheap laptop charger from ebay from china which very quickly got too hot and melted and seemed rather unsafe.



Good question!


Mains plugs, and cables which include mains plugs, are subject to The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 1768). These were, in the UK Government’s own words, “introduced to provide a regulatory regime to address issues regarding consumer safety. There were concerns that consumer safety was compromised by the substantial quantity of counterfeit and unsafe electrical plugs and sockets being placed on the UK market”.


The regulations state: “Approval of standard plugs

8.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this regulation, a standard plug shall be of a type approved by a notified body, and in respect of which such approval has not been cancelled, and in determining applications made to it for such approval the notified body shall not grant such approval unless it is satisfied-

(a) that plugs of that type conform to BS 1363; and

(b) by means of inspection or testing of samples of plugs of that type, that the manufacturer of the plug may reasonably be expected to ensure that normal production and design of the plug will result in plugs of that type conforming to that standard.”


Part II “applies to any appliance which is” ….. “(iii) a flexible cable or cord which is designed to be connected to electrical equipment by means of an appliance coupler and to connect that electrical equipment to a socket conforming to BS 1363 by means of a plug” (that is what Amazon and ebay are selling). It goes on to further state:

Prohibitions on supply etc. of appliances

12.—(1) Subject to the following provisions of this regulation, no person shall supply, offer for supply, agree to supply, expose for supply or possess for supply any appliance unless that appliance is correctly fitted with a standard plug which-

(a) complies with the requirements of regulation 8 above; and

(b) is fitted with a fuse link which conforms to BS 1362 and is rated in accordance with the appliance manufacturer's instructions, provided that in the absence of such instructions the fuse link may be rated in accordance with Table 2 of BS 1363.


In the case of the some products, eg Amazon references B005EL9Z6K, B005EL9YY8 and B005EL9YKM, the pictures accompanying Amazon’s offer for sale clearly indicate that the earth pins of the plugs are partially sleeved, however BS 1363-1:1995 (the current version of the standard applying to plugs) states (in clause 12.16) “…. Sleeves shall not be fitted to any earthing plug pin.” There are a number of other illegalities about these cables that are revealed during examination, but the sleeved earth pins make the plugs immediately identifiable as non-conforming to BS 1363, and therefore illegal for anyone to offer for supply.


Where, as in the previous descriptions I have given, the product is advertised as being a genuine product, but an illegal product is supplied, the crime is to "supply" rather than to "offer to supply". If the cable were ordered directly from a foreign supplier then there is still an obligation on them to obey our law, but difficult to see how that would be enforced. However, where you buy through a UK company that company carries the obligations defined in the Plugs and Sockets regulations, so ebay and Amazon are the ones committing the crime, especially Amazon as they are the ones who take your money! I am not sufficiently familiar with the regulations affecting other electrical goods, such as the charger you mentioned, to comment on the position, but I suspect that it is similar - although not so clear cut.

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The answer is 'yes', it defeats the object of having safety standards. When people set up import/retail business, they just think of profit, they don't think of safety,

or what if the stock gets confiscated by Trading Standards.




Do ebay sellers from abroad have to comply with British standards for safety, etc ?. I bought a cheap laptop charger from ebay from china which very quickly got too hot and melted and seemed rather unsafe.



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but clearly there are items on ebay that are made in china and and shipped directly to the uk whixch i very much doubt have passed BS standards..an ood situation. Personally im not too botherred..I just make sure i buy things like chargers from a uk company.



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