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7 Mar 2019

Does your child own this flammable Star Wars outfit?

It's been recalled via the EU safety alert system but we found it still on sale

If your child has gone to school in this Star Wars Executioner Stormtrooper Outfit for World Book Day, beware.

The Star Wars outfit has been recalled because it doesn't comply with the requirements for the Toy Safety Directive and European and British safety standard (BS EN 71-2).

That's because it catches fire too easily and the flame propagation - how fast and violently the material burns - is too high, and your child could suffer burns.

We found costumes that looked identical to it for sale on eBay marketplace and at partydelights.co.uk even after it had been recalled, so we're warning parents to check whether it's in their child's dressing up box.

Watch children's costumes burn

Watch our video below to see what happens when dress up costumes that fail to meet safety standards go up in flames.

Our video shows footage from October 2018 when we tested 20 Halloween outfits sold through online and high street retailers to check if they met the requirements for flammability testing.

Two outfits failed to the meet the requirements of the European and British safety standard (BS EN 71-2), one of which was sold through eBay and made by Spanish company Fiestas Guirca.

The Maleficent outfit (left), which was stocked on eBay, and the B&M werewolf outfit (right) were both removed from sale following our investigation.

The headpiece on the Maleficent outfit and the moulded mask that came with the werewolf outfit burned too quickly to pass.

Spotted still on sale

We spotted what looked like the same Stars Wars Stormtrooper dress-up outfit still on sale on eBay and Party Delights after we received a safety alert about it via the European Commission Safety Gate Rapid Alert System.

We contacted both retailers.

Both have removed the listing we found from their sites.

A spokesperson for eBay told us that the marketplace seller in question has been contacted and that the seller would be required to contact any buyers who have purchased the item and offer a refund.

The company also told us its teams had put several filters in place on the site to prevent and remove any similar listings from appearing.

The eBay spokesperson said: 'The safety of our customers is paramount and we do not tolerate the listing of non-compliant items by sellers.

'Our specialist teams work with regulators and Trading Standards to ensure our block filters stay up to date, using sophisticated software that monitors billions of listings a day to remove any prohibited items.'

Party Delights told us it's following it's standard product recall procedure to ensure customers are informed and offered a full refund.

A spokesperson at Party Delights told us: 'As a distributor, we fully comply with all the requirements laid out in the Toy Safety Regulations 2011, including ensuring that the manufacturers we partner with are fully compliant and have ensured the safety of toys before we offer them for sale.

'As a retailer we rely on our supply partners to alert us to any changes in the safety compliance of their products.

'In this particular instance, it seems the measures taken in Austria involved the local retailer withdrawing the product from sale, which suggests that the manufacturer may not have been made aware. We would encourage that the product manufacturer is always made aware of potential safety issues to ensure a full product recall can be issued to all retailers who sell the product.'

More unsafe products on marketplaces

This is not the first time we've spotted potentially unsafe items for sale on online marketplaces.

Just last month we reported how easy it was to buy illegal 'killer' car seats from both eBay and Amazon.

In July 2018 we discovered toy slime with potentially unsafe levels of boron more than four times the safety limits permitted by EU standards.

In June 2018 we alerted the public aboutlethal carbon monoxide alarms bought from Amazon and eBay that repeatedly failed to detect the killer gas.

What to do if your child owns one

If you've bought this Star Wars outfit, you should

  • Stop your child from wearing or playing with it.
  • Confirm whether it's the recalled outfit by looking out for item number 640110 and batch code 'Lot No 7045'.
  • You should be able to check both these numbers on the label and on the packaging.
  • If you bought it from eBay marketplace, check your email inbox and your junk mail box to see if you've received an email from the seller providing details on receiving a refund.
  • If you got it from another source and haven't received any communications you're still entitled to a refund.
  • Any terms and conditions that say you must cover the cost of returning an item don't apply where the goods being returned are faulty.
  • You must notify the retailer of your wish to cancel and return the goods - by email, for example. As well as the cost of the costume, you should be refunded the delivery cost you paid to get it sent to you.

Safety checks before you buy

Parents buying a dressing-up outfit for their child should look out for a CE mark as this suggests it meets the requirements of European Toy Safety Directive.

However, bear in mind that we've found outfits that carried the CE mark and still failed when we tested them for flammability.

You can also check to see if the costume has been tested to a stricter flammability level than what's required by British law. This is a voluntary code of practice produced and designed by retailers and manufacturers in collaboration with the British Retail Consortium.

If you've bought a fancy dress costume that subscribes to these stricter safety requirements, you may notice additional labelling or wording stating that the garment has undergone additional testing. The additional testing includes ensuring that the maximum permitted rate of spread of flame is 10mm per second (as opposed to 30mm per second in BS EN 71-2, the European and British standard).

It may carry additional labels such as the one below.