ACCC joins global campaign to highlight product safety on online platforms

The ACCC, along with the European Commission and 24 other countries, is using International Product Safety Week to focus on reducing the number of unsafe consumer products being sold online.

The global OECD campaign aims to highlight the importance of suppliers and online retailers being aware of the product safety rules and regulations in different countries.

“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,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Rickard said online shoppers are particularly exposed to injury or illness risks because they cannot physically examine products and their labelling as they would when shopping in store.

“People should check online ratings and reviews, which may indicate any safety issues other consumers have experienced,” Rickard said.

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

The ACCC has been working with a number of online selling platforms such as eBay, Etsy, AliExpress, Gumtree, and Catch.com.au to improve product safety compliance in the online marketplace.

These platforms are undertaking a range of activities to improve awareness of unsafe products, including sending tailored compliance alerts and information to sellers about Australian regulations, and putting processes in place that enable swifter removal of listings that include unsafe products.

Rickard said that it was essential that sellers provide product safety information such as labels, warnings and descriptions in their 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. Ideally they should also have systems that automatically search for and remove non-complying goods,” Rickard said.

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