eBay in knife sale controversy

eBay faces Watchdog investigation
eBay faces Watchdog investigation

eBay is set to appear on BBC1's Watchdog programme tonight accused of selling knives illegally.

A loophole on the website, claims Watchdog, allows UK consumers to buy knives from overseas, which are illegal to possess in the UK.

To prove its point, Watchdog researchers bought five knives in this way. It would have been six, but one was intercepted by UK customs.

To make matters worse, the price of the knives was less than £10.

Trust is the engine of eBay

TechRadar has contacted eBay about the allegations, but it has yet to give us an official statement.

The website did speak to the BBC about the findings and said: "Trust is the engine of eBay and as the UK's number one e-commerce site, we know we have a responsibility to keep the site safe for our buyers and sellers.

"Although the UK site did not have any illegal knives for sale by UK sellers, it was possible for UK buyers to see or purchase knives from international sellers.

"This should not have been possible and we have taken steps to close that loophole."

There are stringent rules about selling knives available on the website, which includes the following piece of advice:

"Members should be aware when listing knives on eBay that it is an offence to market a knife in a way which indicates or suggests that it is suitable for combat, or is likely to encourage violent behaviour involving the use of the knife as a weapon. It is also an offence to sell knives to a person who is under the age of 18."

The episode of Watchdog containing the eBay segment is due to air 7.30pm tonight on BBC1.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.