UK Government issues online marketplace product safety warning to UK consumers
On 10 November 2021, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, issued a warning to UK consumers highlighting the product safety risks when shopping for goods on online platforms. These reforms are borne of a growing concern by regulators that these platforms may more easily allow those with unsafe products to sell them than more traditional modes of sale.
The OPSS reports that more than 10,000 unsafe products, including toys, have been taken down from online platforms in 2021 alone.
OPSS Chief Executive Graham Russell said:
We are seeing a rise in the use of online marketplaces by consumers across the UK. At the same time, there is too much evidence of non-compliant products being sold by third party sellers. I urge consumers to be cautious and identify who and where they are buying from.
This important message follows the EU Commission’s proposed revisions to the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) in June 2021, which includes proposals to regulate the conduct of online marketplaces and lay down specific obligations for the companies that operate them.
In this post-Brexit era, it is expected that the UK will implement a parallel regime into UK legislation as part of its overhaul of its product safety systems and laws. The increased use of online marketplaces may also give rise to future product liability litigation in the UK and the EU, as has already been seen in the United States.