European Parliament’s new product safety rules

Category: Brands
European Parliament's new product safety rules

New product safety rules aiming to ensure that all products in the EU, including those bought online, are safe have been approved by MEPs and await endorsement by the European Council. If passed as expected, they will come into effect in 18 months.

The rules biggest impact of the product safety rules is that every non-food product sold to EU consumers will require an economic operator established in the European Union, who is responsible for its safety. The new regulation aligns the existing General Product Safety Directive with the latest developments in digitalisation and the surge in online shopping.

This will increase regulatory requirements for all online retailers and at some point the necessity to appoint an EU economic operator will add additional expense to retailer’s cost base. How this will work for smaller sellers is not yet clear costs could quickly outweigh profits for owner operators.

Thanks to this law we are protecting our most vulnerable consumers, particularly children. In 2020, 50% of products listed as dangerous came from China. With this law, we took a crucial step against those who do not sell safe products in Europe.

Every product sold must have someone who takes responsibility for it inside the EU. Unsafe products will be removed from websites in two days. Consumers will be informed directly via email if they have bought an unsafe product. In addition, they will have a right to a repair, replacement or refund if a product is recalled. Once this law is in place, there will be fewer dangerous products in Europe.

– Dita Charanzová, rapporteur

New product safety rules

Improving safety assessments

In order to guarantee that all products placed on the market are safe for consumers, the General Product Safety Regulation includes measures to guarantee that risks for the most vulnerable consumers (e.g. children), gender aspects and cybersecurity risks are also taken into account during safety assessments.

Market surveillance and online shops

The new regulation extends the obligations of economic operators (such as the manufacturer, importer, distributor), increases the powers of market surveillance authorities and introduces clear obligations for providers of online marketplaces. Online market places will have to cooperate with market surveillance authorities to mitigate risks, who in turn can order online marketplaces to remove or disable access to offers of dangerous products without undue delay, and in any event within two working days.

Products coming from outside the EU can be placed on the market only if there is an economic operator established in the European Union, who is responsible for its safety.

Efficient recall procedures

The revamped legislation improves the product recall procedure, as currently return rates remain low, with an estimated third of EU consumers continuing to use recalled products.

If a product has to be recalled, consumers must be informed directly and offered a repair, replacement or refund. Consumers will also have the right to file complaints or launch collective actions. Information on products’ safety and remedy options must be available in clear and easily understandable language. The rapid alert system for dangerous products (“Safety Gate” portal) will be modernised to allow unsafe products to be detected more effectively and will be more accessible for persons with disabilities.


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