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EC and four online marketplaces sign product safety pledge

Published 28 June 2018

The European Commission and four online retailers have signed a product safety pledge to remove dangerous products from their marketplace.

With a dialogue facilitated by the European Commission, four major online companies including Alibaba Group (for AliExpress), Amazon, eBay and Rakuten-France have committed to respond to notifications on dangerous products from Member State authorities within two working days and take action on notices from customers within five working days.

Online sales accounted for about 20% of the total sales in 2016 across Europe. More and more dangerous products are being notified in the Rapid Alert System are being sold online.

This shows that there is a need for all online marketplaces to continue and further step up their efforts for removing dangerous products.

The EU e-Commerce Directive introduces notice and take-down procedures for problematic content online, but it does not regulate them in detail.

EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourová said: "More and more people in the EU are shopping online. E-commerce has opened up new possibilities for consumers, offering them more choice at lower prices. Consumers should be just as safe when they buy online, as when they buy in a shop.

“I welcome the Product Safety Pledge which will further improve consumer safety. I call also on other online marketplaces to join this initiative, so that the internet becomes a safer place for EU consumers."

As part of the safety directive, the four companies have agreed to react within two working days to authorities' notices made to the companies' contact points to remove listings offering unsafe products. Companies should follow-up and inform the authorities on the action taken.

Companies are also required to provide a clear way for customers to notify about dangerous product listings. Such notices will be treated expeditiously and appropriate action will be taken within five working days.

They should also consult information on recalled/dangerous products available on the EU Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products and also from other sources, including enforcement authorities and take appropriate action with respect to the products concerned, when they are identified.

The companies must provide specific single contact points for EU Member State authorities for the notifications on dangerous products and for the facilitation of communication on product safety issues.

Measures must be taken to ensure that the listed dangerous products do not reappear, once they are removed.

Image: Flags before the European Commission. Photo: Courtesy of Corentin Béchade/wikipedia.org