Counterfeit Toys

It is estimated that as many as 8% of toys imported to the UK could be fake, which represents a loss of £250 million to the UK economy.
According to a 2020 report from the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), unsafe toys continue to be sold via third-party sellers on online marketplaces. 60% of toys the BTHA tested from internet sellers had serious safety failures, while 86% were illegal to sell in the UK.
Problems found with counterfeit toys include access to small batteries and magnets, which could cause serious harm if ingested, and long cords which pose a strangulation risk. Some products also had incorrect age warnings, which could result in babies and toddlers accessing unsuitable toys.

Buy Toys Safely Online

0When looking for in-demand toys online, it can be tempting to grab a bargain; however, online marketplaces are not responsible for checking that toys are safe.
Counterfeit toys won’t have gone through quality testing and might contain dangerous materials, loose parts and sharp edges.

Avoid potentially dangerous counterfeit toys online:

      • Where possible, buy from trusted brands and reputable retailers
      • Look for the Lion Mark or CE marking
      • Check that the seller is licensed by the brand holder to sell their products
      • Check that the product description states that the toy is an original
      • Look closely at the product listing – are the images blurry or low quality? Are there spelling mistakes in the description or packaging? These could be signs of counterfeit products
      • Check the price – if the toy is a lot cheaper than in official stores, it may not be genuine

If you have information about the sale of counterfeit goods through social media or marketplace sites, report them to Trading Standards via Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or online at

Check for Fakes and Illicit Goods Before You Buy Online

Vistalworks have developed an online tool which allows you to check products before you buy them and reduce the likelihood of harm. This technology is currently restricted to a range of products on sale on eBay and Amazon. Simply paste in an eBay or Amazon listing URL here and we’ll give you an indication of whether the product appears to be legitimate or not:

Loading the Vistalworks checker widget…

The technology gets more effective the more it is used so make sure that you test all of your potential purchases!

The information provided by the checker is for guidance only and is not legal advice. The checker is undergoing development and we are unable to guarantee that the correct recommendation will be made in every instance. Vistalworks does not accept any liability for any loss, damage or inconvenience arising as a consequence of any use of the checker.
Find out more about the work being carried out by Vistalworks on their website.

More Advice


Listen to our discussion with experts from the British Toy & Hobby Association, SCOTSS and Snapdragon, where they provide consumers with guidance and top tips to help them buy toys safely online and to avoid potentially dangerous fakes.


In the following videos, experts from the British Toy and Hobby Association and Vistalworks give advice on buying toys safely online and avoiding counterfeits: