Temu selling potentially illegal weapons to minors in the UK, finds Which?

Online marketplace Temu is failing to prevent the sale of weapons and is not carrying out the necessary age checks when selling products including knives and axes, according to Which?.

An investigation by the consumer champion found that the Chinese firm was selling knives and what appeared to be weapons that are illegal in the UK from as little as £4.48.

Which? called for the platform to take more responsibility by carrying out better checks and monitoring and removing dangerous items on its site to stop them ending up in the hands of consumers, especially those aged under 18.

Which? said it believes the lack of controls to prevent minors purchasing these items is particularly concerning given how widely advertised the marketplace is on sites like TikTok.

Researchers for Which? found items such as knives disguised as keyrings which were listed as “self-defence” and “hidden weapons,” which are illegal to sell or own in a private home in the UK as they are specified as banned weapons by UK law. Anyone caught with one of them could face arrest and a prison sentence.

Other items were labelled incorrectly, with one axe being described as a knife for peeling vegetables.

Sue Davies, Which? head of consumer protection policy, said that Temu has had a surge in popularity over the past year.

“Problems with dangerous products are only going to get worse if new tech giants like Temu continue to be held to weaker standards than high-street retailers,” she said. “The online marketplace needs to improve its checks, monitoring and takedown processes, and ensure third-party sellers cannot list these dangerous items – particularly to young people under the age of 18.”

A Temu spokesperson told Which? that the company is “committed to complying fully with relevant rules and regulation” across all the markets it operates in.

“After receiving a complaint of a person under 18 purchasing a bladed article from our platform, we immediately removed all related product listings,” they added. “We also initiated a comprehensive investigation and review of our processes to further strengthen our safeguards and prevent similar cases from occurring again.”

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