Trading Standards issue advice on unauthorised hand sanitiser products

Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards are advising residents to be mindful of the hand sanitisers they are using during the current Covid-19 (Coronvirus) pandemic.

The nationwide shortage of hand sanitiser has created a high demand for such products, with officers now aware that prices of the products have also increased significantly and also a number of unauthorised products have entered the market

Consumers should always read the label and purchase from legitimate suppliers, while anyone concerned as to safety of any hand sanitiser product should contact Trading Standards immediately. 

Trading Standards team manager Aled Herbert explains: “As consumers experience a shortage of hand sanitisers, we want to ensure that consumers purchase recognised products and are not tempted to purchase homemade or unlabelled sanitisers that they may find being offered for sale. 

“The current shortage may lead to a rise in unsafe, non-compliant hand sanitisers making their way onto the market which may make claims that are not substantiated.   

Hand sanitisers not made correctly can lead to a false sense of security and crucially may not be effective.    

The Government guidance remains that hand washing is the most important way to keep hands clean and that we should wash hands more often than usual for at least 20 seconds using soap and water, particularly after coughing, sneezing or blowing noses or after being in public areas where other people are doing so.   

Environmental Health colleagues advise that hand sanitisers should always be used in conjunction with handwashing with warm water and soap.     

Mr Herbert continues: “Trading Standards will not only continue to monitor the marketplace and deal with non-compliant hand sanitising products where they are found, we will also do all we can to assist businesses wishing to re-purpose their manufacturing to make hand sanitising products safely.” 

Meanwhile, the service is also aware that the prices of some products have increased significantly.  

While there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the price that a business can charge for their products, regulations exist to protect consumers from traders who act unfairly.  

Mr Herbert says: “Whilst there are no controls on what the price is, if the business knowingly or recklessly takes advantage or exploits a consumer then they may be acting unfairly and may be committing an offence. 

“If a price inflation is so gross and it can’t be justified, that rise may be seen to act in a way that contravenes the requirements of professional diligence.” 

“Whilst we can take action against a business for unfair practices social media has meant that the bad publicity that a business can generate from their own actions, particularly in such grave circumstances, will usually have a swifter and more negative impact.” 

Trading Standards contact details can be found online here: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/consumers/consumer-advice/