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Online platforms and unsafe products

Question écrite de Mme Deirdre CLUNE - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Deirdre CLUNE,

Diffusée le 13 juillet 2020

Subject: Online platforms and unsafe products

In 2019, a record number of dangerous products were flagged by the Commission’s Rapid Alert System. Toys were the most notified product category, making up just under a third of all reports. 23 % of alerts concerned motor vehicles and 8 % concerned electrical equipment. On top of this, a recent study from a group of consumer organisations tested 250 electrical goods, toys, cosmetics and other products bought from online marketplaces such as Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and Wish. The organisations selected the products based on possible risks and found that 66 % of them fail EU safety laws, with possible consequences such as electric shock, fire or suffocation. At present, online platforms must remove dangerous items once they become aware of them. However, further consumer studies have shown that the same dangerous items can reappear a number of months or years later.

1. What can the Commission do to address this issue in the context of the upcoming Digital Services Act?

2. Does the Commission intend to place additional requirements on platforms to prevent this and what type of measures might it envisage in this regard?

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 30 septembre 2020

Answer given by Mr Breton on behalf of the European Commission

(1 October 2020)

The Commission is aware of the increasing challenges around the sale of dangerous products online. The COVID-19 crisis has also cast a spotlight on the proliferation of illegal goods, practices and content and the necessity for clear rules and effective enforcement.

Before the end of 2020, the Commission will propose a new framework for online platforms in the context of the Digital Services Act package. This framework should increase the safety of users online by modernising and harmonising procedures and responsibilities of platforms, setting clear obligations to address illegal goods and content disseminated online. Such obligations would include, inter alia, effective notice-and-action mechanisms, ‘know your business customer’ rules, rapid redress mechanisms, transparency and reporting obligations. These rules would provide the necessary legal certainty to the evolving intermediaries, incentivise quick actions by the platforms and ensure that they act responsibly. The Digital Services Act will also aim at increasing cooperation between platforms and competent authorities and between authorities in Member States to ensure effective enforcement and oversight.

The Commission is also preparing a proposal to revise the General Product Safety Directive (1), scheduled for mid-2021, to tackle the safety issues of products sold on online channels, inter alia through an update of the general legal framework and other elements that would further improve the safety of products sold online. The open public consultation (2), which is part of the broader consultation on the New Consumer Agenda, is open until 6 October 2020.

⋅1∙ Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety, OJ L 11, 15.1.2002.


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