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Government warn about donation claims on PPE which may lead consumers to overestimate protective qualities

The warning follows increasing number of online traders claiming product donations to healthcare providers which is not a guarantee of standards or suitability

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Call goes out to Fingal businesses to donate PPE equipment for the region’s COVID-19 Response Community Volunteers

Call goes out to Fingal businesses to donate PPE equipment for the region’s COVID-19 Response Community Volunteers

Call goes out to Fingal businesses to donate PPE equipment for the region’s COVID-19 Response Community Volunteers

THE government has warned people buying face masks or hand sanitisers online to be cautious of traders claiming to have donated such items to hospitals.

The advise come from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission which has come across a number of such claims made by online outlets.

Senior government official Liz Canavan said: "Some online traders appear to be informing consumers that the Personal Protective Products they're selling have been donated to hospitals and other healthcare providers.

"In many cases it is unclear as to whether or not these donated protective products are suitable for use in health care settings and should not be considered as an indication of the suitability or standards," she added.

Ms Canavan said that people considering buying hand sanitising products who have concerns can check the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine's register for biocidal products.

Only the notified and authorised products listed on the Department's register are legal for sale and use in Ireland.

She urged consumers who encounter "misleading practices" or "experiences difficulties with a trader" to contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission by visiting their website CCPC.ie where they can be advised of their rights.

According to the CCPC, an increasing number of online traders appear to be informing consumers that personal protective products they are selling have been donated to hospitals and other healthcare providers.

In many cases, it is unclear as to whether or not these donated protective products are suitable for use in healthcare settings. The CCPC is concerned that such claims are likely to influence consumers when they are considering purchasing such products that they are of a suitable standards.

Mistaking the level of protection the PPE offers, they say, may present a significant risk to consumers.

If a consumer is considering buying hand sanitising products and they are concerned, they can check The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s register for biocidal products. Only notified and authorised products listed on the Department’s register are legal for sale and use in Ireland.

The European Commission has also recently published advice to consumers, it says that consumers should be cautious if traders:

  • Use language or images in their marketing which explicitly or implicitly suggest that a product is able to prevent or cure Covid-19 infection
  • Make reference to self-declared doctors, health professionals, experts or other unofficial sources stating that a product is able to prevent or cure an infection with the new virus
  • Refer by name or logo to government authorities, official experts or international institutions which have allegedly endorsed the protective or curative claims without providing hyperlinks or references to official documents
  • Use scarcity claims such as 'only available today', 'sell out fast' or similar
  • Inform about market conditions such as 'lowest price on the market', 'only product that can cure Covid-19 infections' or similar
  • Use prices that are well above the normal price for similar products due to the fact that they would allegedly prevent or cure Covid-19 infection.

Online Editors