Legislation Making Products Safer for Consumers, Adopted by the Council
After an extended process, the Council has recently adopted the General Product Safety Regulation (‘GPSR’) which will replace the current General Product Safety Directive (the ‘Directive’).
The Regulation strengthens safety standards for products sold both online and face-to-face.
While digitalisation has been constantly increasing and, hence, is continuously determining changes in consumers’ behaviour, a new set of rules has been vitally necessary to address problems of supply chain evolution which would allow for a higher protection of consumers purchasing goods both offline and online.
The Directive and GPSR have many aspects in common, relying on a set of principles to increase consumers’ protection. Their purpose has essentially been to protect consumers’ health and safety and to ultimately ensure the proper functioning of the internal European market. Transforming the Directive into a regulation has contributed to a more stable legal framework by its direct applicability into a Member State’s law.
The GPSR focuses on strengthening a set of market rules which also align the provisions determined by the Market Surveillance Regulation. Such provisions are designed to apply as a safety net, only when other specific EU legal acts fail to ensure safety rules regarding a product.
One of the key-points envisaged by GPSR is related to establishing safeguards for consumers that purchase goods online. Certain new measures imply the need for marketplaces to co-operate with market surveillance authorities when determining a dangerous product commercialised through their platforms. From another perspective, market surveillance authorities are expressly enabled to take attitude against detected dangerous products, being appointed to order their removal from marketplaces.
Economic operators must designate a person responsible for products sold online and offline
An additional requirement imposed by the regulation refers to the need for economic operators to designate a responsible person for products sold online and offline both from EU countries and third countries, which must be in charge of verifying whether certain documents, like safety information or instructions, are associated to products.
Product recall rules are extensively treated by demanding a series of effective actions from economic operators. More precisely, recall notices should be forwarded in a timely manner, in such a way that could be easily understood by consumers without decreasing consumers’ perception of the risk exposed. Additional remedies for consumers are also envisaged when such product recalls take place.
After being signed by the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council, the Regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the 20th day after its publication. Following the formal adoption of the regulation and its entry into force, Member States will have 18 months to apply the new rules on general product safety.