Council of the EU adopts final General Product Safety Regulation

April 26, 2023

The Council has adopted the General Product Safety Regulation, which will reinforce the safety rules for products sold both offline and online. The Regulation aims to strengthen market surveillance for unsafe products and consumer rights for anyone who has been sold an unsafe product.

The 2001 Directive on general product safety required consumer products placed or made available on the EU market to meet general safety requirements. However, the increasing number of goods and products sold online required an update to keep the rules fit for current digital and technological developments. The new regulation also transforms the original Directive (which has to be transposed to national rules with some divergence) into a Regulation (which will apply consistently across member states).

It modernises the rules for all economic operators (manufacturers, importers, and distributors) and for online businesses and online marketplaces.

The GPSR aims to enhance product safety and consumer protection, and to make it easier for consumers to repair, return or replace unsafe products. The key points are:

  • online marketplaces will have to co-operate with market surveillance authorities if they detect a dangerous product on their platform, and must establish a single point of contact in charge of product safety;
  • market surveillance authorities will be able to order online marketplaces to remove dangerous products from their platforms or to disable their access;
  • a single market surveillance regime will apply to all products;
  • if a product has proven to be unsafe, economic operators must immediately adopt corrective measures and inform market surveillance authorities and consumers;
  • if a product must be recalled, consumers will be entitled either to have it repaired or replaced or to be refunded (and can choose between at least two of these options); and
  • economic operators should have a person responsible for products sold online and offline (independently of the product’s origin), who will ensure the availability of technical documentation, instructions, and safety information. This applies to operators located outside the EU as well.

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.

UK businesses will be affected if selling goods or digital products in the EU.