Heaters that ‘could explode, cause shock or start fires’ sold on TikTok and Temu

Credit: PA

People have been warned not to buy electric heaters which have been promoted by social media influencers, over fears they could explode, cause electric shocks or start house fires are being sold on TikTok and Temu.

Which? the watchdog bought and tested eight electric heaters costing as little as £7.20 from TikTok Shop and Temu, finding that six were electrically unsafe.

Tests found the £7.20 XH-1201 1200W portable electric heater bought from TikTok was a fire hazard.

It also could explode and and give electric shocks.

Which? found 16 sellers listing the heater on TikTok, which said they had sold 223 products.

An identical £16.98 portable space heater purchased from online marketplace Temu, from a listing that stated 2,100 had been sold, could give users an electric shock, cause a fire or explode, Which? found.

When researchers looked for other Temu-based sellers, they found another claiming 6,700 sales.

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 made so badly that it 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.

Unsafe heaters bought from Temu and tested by Which? Credit: Which?/PA

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.

It warned that new online marketplaces such as TikTok and Temu can achieve millions of app downloads but currently pass responsibility for safety to sellers who are beyond the reach of UK regulations.

Recent Which? research found that around 2.8 million UK consumers made a purchase through TikTok in 2023, while 8.2 million UK consumers bought through Temu.

Which? head of consumer protection policy Sue Davies said: “Cheap electric heaters are a tempting purchase for consumers struggling during the cold winter months, but our latest tests have revealed that models sold on TikTok and Temu are a serious safety risk and must be avoided at all costs.

“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.

“Temu operates a marketplace for independent third-party sellers who must adhere to strict compliance and legal standards before listing their products.

"In instances of non-compliance, we act swiftly to investigate and take necessary measures to protect our customers, which may include product removals and seller account terminations.”

TikTok said: “TikTok uses a combination of technology and manual moderation to enforce our policies for TikTok Shop.

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

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