• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces found to sell illegal weapons

BySamuel M. Craig

Aug 11, 2022

Amazon, eBay, Wish and AliExpress are under fire after an investigation revealed illegal weapons such as knives, swords and batons were being sold on online platforms.

The UK consumer organisation, Which? found that illegal weapons were sold by third-party sellers who went by different names.

UK law – including the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – prohibits the sale of these weapons in the country and they cannot be owned by a household.

If a person was caught with illegal weapons, they could be arrested and sentenced to prison.

“It is disturbing that our latest investigation found that illegal weapons are being sold in online marketplaces at extraordinarily low prices and that these tech companies are also selling additional dangerous items to people,” said Sue Davies, chief policy officer. of consumer protection at Which?.

“It raises big question marks about the controls and surveillance carried out by these platforms,” she added, urging online marketplaces to take “more responsibility” and prevent the appearance of illegal weapons. on their sites.

Search on Amazon, which one? discovered that friction batons – the buying and selling of which are illegal in the UK – were “masking as hiking poles” on the site.

According to the band, some of the listings used special characters, such as “bătõň”, in the title or only used the word baton in the artwork.

The consumer group said it was likely to avoid detection by Amazon, while some of the images on the listings indicated they could be used for self-defense and combat.

On eBay, the investigation found illegal brass knuckles, zombie swords and knives, and a 27-inch zombie blade. EBay‘s terms and conditions state that none of these guns should be sold on its platform.

Experts told the AliExpress site they had found “a large number of knives, hidden blades and a series of self-defense rings” designed to be worn like brass knuckles, priced at just £0.49 (€0.58).

On Wish, the consumer group found concealed blades and several belt buckle knives.

How have tech platforms reacted?

Amazon said it would take “appropriate enforcement” against the baton sellers and removed the “products in question.”

“We are disappointed when bad actors escape our systems and we will use these learnings to improve our prevention mechanisms. These products have now been removed from the store,” the company said in a statement.

EBay said it was investigating why the items were not blocked and said it takes the safety of its customers “very seriously”.

“As an international marketplace, our policies vary across the world and some of the listings highlighted by Which? are authorized by US policy and sold by US-registered sellers,” he said in a statement. communicated.

“UK buyers cannot buy these knives. We are investigating why this blockage did not occur in this case”.

Wish said it was “exploring remedial action against any offending merchants.”

In a statement, the company said: “Although we have implemented a number of systems and methods to prevent the appearance of illegal weapons, it seems, on this occasion, that our traders have identified a way to circumvent our processes”.

AliExpress said it removed the listings and launched an investigation.