EU parliament proposes greater consumer safety online and offline

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Sellers and marketplaces inside the European Union, governed by rules and laws set by the EU parliament could face stricter rules when it comes to consumer safety both online and offline.

The Internal Market Committee adopted its position on the EU’s updated rules on product safety of non-food consumer products with 41 in favour, one against and two abstentions. MEPs adopted changes to enhance the safety of products sold in the EU and future-proof the existing legal framework. MEPs also clarified obligations for economic operators and online marketplaces and strengthened product safety requirements.

The proposed changes:

Clearer rules for operators and safety of products – All economic operators would have to comply with the updated general safety obligations. Failure to comply will result in penalties of up to 4% of their annual turnover. MEPs also strengthened provisions on safety requirements for products to take into account possible specific risks to the most vulnerable consumers.

Removal of dangerous goods – According to the recently agreed Digital Services Act, online marketplaces would have to establish single contact points to communicate swiftly with surveillance authorities and consumers. Authorities can oblige online marketplaces to remove and disable access to illegal listings of dangerous products. After being notified, online marketplaces would have one day to act. They would conduct random checks to identify the dangerous products. MEPs also want the rapid alert system for dangerous products (“Safety Gate” portal) to be modernised to allow online marketplaces to detect unsafe products more easily. 

Efficient recall procedures and access to information – If a dangerous products is recalled or there is a safety warning, economic operators and online marketplaces would be required to inform consumers and make the information widely accessible online in easy to understand language. Consumers would be informed of their right to repair, replacement or refund.

Today, we take a crucial step towards making sure all products are safe in Europe, by giving consumers more rights and businesses, including online marketplaces, more responsibilities. And importantly, we do so in a way that protects small businesses without limiting consumer choice. Our “Safety Net” will be more effective and new obligations will target sectors where action is most needed. I look forward to a quick adoption under the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.

– Dita Charanzová, The rapporteur


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