The Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the general product safety regulation (GPSR). This regulation updates the current rules to ensure that products sold both offline and online are safe and live up to European standards.
“This regulation will help to reduce the number of dangerous products sold both offline and online in the EU market, including in online marketplaces. Consumers will be better protected and will also be entitled to a refund or replacement if they have purchased an unsafe product.”
Jozef Síkela, Czech minister for industry and trade
All products traded in the EU are subject to general safety requirements. However, to keep up with challenges linked to digitalisation and the increasing amount of goods and products sold online, the general product safety rules in force are no longer suited to addressing current digital and technological developments and challenges.
The GPSR therefore transforms the general product safety directive from 2001 into a regulation, modernises the rules for all economic operators (manufacturers, importers and distributers) and updates them for online businesses and online marketplaces. Transforming the directive into a regulation will ensure a sound legal framework to guarantee that products are safe and follow European standards.
Buying safe products online
The GPSR links product safety challenges to new technologies and to online marketplaces. Online marketplaces will have to co-operate with market surveillance authorities if they detect a dangerous product on their platform. For that purpose, they would be required to establish a single point of contact in charge of product safety.
Online marketplaces will have to ensure they know the traders who operate on their platforms and the products they offer. Market surveillance authorities will be able to issue orders requiring online marketplaces to remove dangerous products from their platforms or to disable access to such offers. The GPSR also creates a single market surveillance regime that applies to all products.
Better consumer protection
If a product has proven to be unsafe, economic operators are required to immediately adopt corrective measures and inform market surveillance authorities and consumers accordingly. If a product has to be recalled, consumers will be entitled to repair, replacement or a refund. When possible, economic operators have to make sure that consumers can choose from at least two of these options.
The new rules ensure that economic operators have a responsible person for products sold online and offline, whether they originate from the EU or from a third country.
The responsible person will be in charge of checking that technical documentation exists for the products that they are responsible for offered by the economic operator and that products are accompanied by instructions and safety information.
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.
The provisional agreement reached today is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament.
On the Council’s side, the provisional political agreement is subject to approval by member states’ representatives (in Coreper) before going through the formal steps of the adoption procedure.