Big W forced to remove 'dangerous' tattoo gun after backlash

The discount retailer has since revealed how the 'unsafe' product ended up online in the first place.

Big W has been forced to a remove an "at-home tattoo kit" from its online store that was available for kids to buy after Aussies raised the alarm over the "horrible" and "extremely dangerous" product.

Earlier this week, shoppers posted to social media images of the kit, questioning how the product made its way online, seemingly available for anyone, including children, to buy. The Beginner Tattoo Kit Set, which was being sold for $111, included a working tattoo gun, needles and ink.

That is despite there being a whole host of laws regulating safe tattooing across Australia. In Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania it's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be tattooed even with parental consent. In NSW, you have to be 18 years old to be able to get a tattoo without your parents' permission.

Big W's at-home tattoo kit that was axed from its online store.
Big W has removed an at-home tattoo kit from its online store after Aussies lashed the 'dangerous' product. Source: Reddit / Big W

'Marketplace' business models criticised

On Big W's website, the kit was available to purchase without any age checks, warnings or ID verification. The discount retailer has since revealed the product was uploaded to its server by a "trusted" third party provider — a common occurrence in the online retail world and a process that many people criticised.

"Yeah this new marketplace model that these businesses are moving to is super annoying," a person wrote on social media. "I just want to scroll through their site and see what I can buy in their stores. If I'm after the cheap crap, I'll go straight to Ali Express or Temu."

"There is basically no vetting on these drop ship marketplaces. if something dodgy comes up it wont be removed unless reported," a second said.

"I hate the stupid "marketplace" online business model that has infected every major chain," another wrote. "Can't search for products without being shown a few hundred other stupid things that they don't have in store and probably come direct from a warehouse in China."

A woman tattooing a man.
In most Australian states it's illegal to get a tattoo without parental consent under the age of 18. Source: Getty

At-home tattoo kit pulled from shelves after complaints

The onslaught of negative feedback eventually prompted Big W to remove the kit from its online store.

"BIG W Market is a marketplace for trusted third-party sellers on the BIG W website,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia. "The tattoo kit was recently listed on BIG W Market and we acknowledge this product was not categorised correctly.

"We can confirm we have removed it from sale, and no orders have been fulfilled."

The retail heavyweight explained it regularly conducts product reviews to evaluate their suitability and that they are compliant with health and safety requirements. BIG W Market offers a curated extended range to customers that allows trusted third party sellers to sell their products, the retailer added.

Aussies shocked by 'dangerous' listing

Online, Aussies had a lot to say about the kit.

"Just what Australia needs — more bogans and kids getting their hands on these," a person wrote. "We've got kids as young as 12-13 getting around with atrocious backyard tattoos and now one of our biggest retailers is making it even easier."

"This item makes me so uncomfortable. I worked in a needle and syringe program for a few years and home made tattoos are possibly even worse in regards to infection/some blood borne viruses than literally injecting drugs," said another. "Don't do it kids, see a professional."

"This is extremely dangerous! Body mods should be left to professionals, there is a reason there are massive laws and regulations surrounding it," another said.

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