Costco removes fireworks from website after CTV investigation
Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 9:35AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 31, 2017 1:44PM PDT
Costco Canada has removed the option for online shoppers to purchase fireworks following a report from CTV Vancouver.
The wholesale giant told CTV that the product would be pulled from its website Monday night, and that its policy has been changed.
Costco's move followed a request for comment after CTV producers found shoppers could skirt local fireworks regulations by purchasing the products online. Those looking to buy fireworks in Vancouver must be at least 19 and have a permit, which can be acquired online through the city, but Costco's website allowed shoppers to buy fireworks bundles worth as much as $1,500 without asking for age or permit.
CTV reached out to Costco for comment, and was told it would change its policy. The company did not give a statement as to why the products were available online in the first place.
Fireworks were no longer on its website by Tuesday morning.
Costco is just one store that provides a loophole for shoppers. CTV News found other websites that appear to let buyers fill their e-shopping carts with explosives, even after identifying the shipping location as Vancouver.
Many of the sites don't ask whether the buyer is over 19 and has the required permit.
"If a website isn't checking for ID in any way, it's a big concern that minors could have them," Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Jonathan Gormick said.
And some sites sell products that are banned completely in the City of Vancouver, like Roman candles.
"We recognized that those were generally purchased by people that were using them for malicious purposes," Gormick said of the ban.
While fireworks can be fun, they can also be dangerous. Two years ago, an East Vancouver home was gutted by a massive fire that started by a Roman candle or something similar, and in 2013, a young woman was hit in the eye with a bottle rocket.
"Since imposing a permitting system in 2008, we've seen the number of firework-related calls drop every year," Gormick said.
"Make sure you're of age. Make sure you have a permit. Buy from an authorized retailer in the city. Follow directions on the firework."
And local police warned that just because you're able to buy the fireworks, doesn't mean you'll be able to set them off. Anyone caught not following the rules faces consequences.
"The fines start at about $500," Vancouver Police Const. Jason Doucette said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith and Jon Woodward