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ACCC Leads Global Crackdown Of Online Product Safety

The ACCC has announced it will lead a global campaign aimed to reduce the number of unsafe goods sold online. The initiative forms part of International Product Safety Week (12-16 November), held in conjunction with the European Commission and 24 other countries.

The consumer watchdog asserts cross-border transactions are now “common”, with Aussies purchasing an estimated $21.3 billion worth of products online last year.

The ACCC affirms all goods sold in Australia must comply with Aussie product safety laws, irrespective if bought from a local store or overseas e-tailer.

The global OECD campaign seeks to highlight supplier obligations, ensuring parties are aware of product safety rules in different countries.

ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, has advised consumers to thoroughly research before purchasing online, checking reviews and ratings (tips available here).

“Under Australian Consumer Law, anyone selling products to Australian consumers must ensure their products aren’t banned here and that they meet Australia’s 42 mandatory safety standards, no matter where they are located in the world,” remarks Rickard.

“Always read safety warnings and follow instructions. People can also report unsafe products to the ACCC or their consumer protection agency.”

The ACCC asserts it’s working proactively with several online retailers (e.g. eBay, Etsy, AliExpress, Gumtree and Catch.com.au) to improve product safety compliance.

The e-tailers claim to be undertaking several activities to improve unsafe product awareness, including sending tailored compliance alerts about Australian regulations.

Online sellers are reportedly supporting the ACCC to implement processes which enable swifter removal of unsafe product listings.

“All platforms open to consumers also need to emphasise to their sellers the importance of product safety compliance, and work swiftly with regulators to remove listings of unsafe products,” asserts Rickard.

“Ideally they should also have systems that automatically search for and remove non-complying goods.”

“If any products don’t comply with Australian regulations, we expect online suppliers and marketplaces to stop them being sold in Australia.”

As previously reported, the ACCC is also pushing for the introduction of a General Safety Provision, establishing clear business obligations about the sale of unsafe products, in line with laws across Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom and European Union.

Further information is available on the ACCC’s website here.




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