‘Very dangerous’ devices that claim to help households save on energy bills amid the cost of living crisis are for sale online, a charity has warned.
Video footage shows the devices – some for sale on eBay – exploding, risking fire and electric shock, Electrical Safety First said.
EBay said it took the findings “extremely seriously” and immediately removed the products from sale.
Electrical Safety First investigated the products after they were brought to the charity’s attention by adverts claiming they were a way to save energy bills.
The charity bought four of the plug-in devices, which claimed to either save energy or “stabilize electrical current”.
One was purchased directly from GetMotex.com and three similar devices were purchased via eBay, with all four being sent to an independent lab for specialist testing.
All four samples failed to meet basic safety standards, risking fire and electric shock, the charity said.
Video footage captured during tests designed to demonstrate the product’s ability to safely handle a short circuit shows the device exploding, sending hot glowing metal fragments flying through the air.
Further testing revealed faults with the size and pin dimension of the plug, potentially damaging the AC wall outlet.
Power-saving claims are largely tied to internal electronic components called capacitors that can “smooth electric current”.
In one of the devices tested, the capacitor was not connected internally, rendering the component useless.
The findings come as consumers are urged to save energy wherever they can to reduce soaring bills.
Electrical Safety First managing director Lesley Rudd said: “Energy saving claims will no doubt be more appealing to people during this time, but the devices we tested could cost you your safety.
“Given the current climate and the difficulties people are facing, the security flaws present in each of these devices are even more despicable. We urge everyone to buy from a reputable retailer that you know and trust to protect you from dangerous goods.
The charity has also shared its findings with the Advertising Standards Authority over concerns about the products’ energy saving claims and with the Office for Product Safety and Standards.
An eBay spokesperson said: ‘We take product safety very seriously and welcome the information provided by Electrical Safety First on these products. In addition to our blocking filter algorithms and the security teams that monitor the site, we work closely with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure eBay remains free of dangerous products.
“In this case, our close working relationship with Westminster Trading Standards enabled the rapid removal of these products through our regulatory portal.”
Electrical Safety First said it also contacted the seller of the unit purchased on GetMotex.com but received no confirmation of any action taken, adding that the products remain on sale.