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Advancements of the BAuA Product Safety Portal: Internet Trade and Product Safety

(in German)

The submitted research report "Advancements of the BAuA Product Safety Portal: Internet Trade and Product Safety" shall mainly introduce proposals how to optimize the existing BAuA Product Safety Portal in regard of the current challenges it has to face in terms of an increasing importance of internet trade. Its also an intention of this study is to show the legal and organizational measures to optimize the market surveillance of product safety in e-commerce.

Nowadays, German market surveillance authorities have to deal with the problem that products which fall within the scope of the Produktsicherheitsgesetz (ProdSG), are increasingly being sold directly to domestic customers and consumers via internet. Particularly trade platforms (e.g. eBay) and online stores - which are also linked and advertised by comparison shopping sites - can be used by both retailers (B2B) and consumers (B2C), to bring products to the inner-European and domestic market - with only one mouse click - that might be unsafe (e.g. no-name products). Prod-ucts traded online do therefore not always match the technical and safety-related requirements, which are expected to be considered in the Single European Market.

Parties offering products on trade platforms or online shops are not necessarily based within the boundaries of the EU or the European Economic Area. Due to this reason, market surveillance authorities feel helpless about the imports of unsafe products by retailers and consumers through the internet, since they cannot treat the online selling parties in the same way as they treat parties selling products "offline" in stores, where methods of the "classic market surveillance" are applicable. Therefore, those classic mechanisms of monitoring and sanctioning within the range of the active and reactive market surveillance, only work within national or - at best - European borders. They are however not or not sufficiently applicable to foreign countries outside the EU. Besides that, new kinds of "neutral" market players – such as trade platforms, packstations or warehouse services - play an more and more important role in internet trade and can at the same time hardly be captured by the classic methods of market surveillance.

Facing this situation, it is necessary to contrive ways and means to optimally warn and protect consumers from (potentially) unsafe products, which are being sold from abroad through the internet and finally being imported into the domestic or the inner-European Market. Moreover it is intended to identify opportunities to sanction perpetrators in online trade in the same way as in the classic ("offline") trade. This already results from the warranty responsibility of the state.

The study offers suggestions for content, design and presentation of the "BAuA Product Safety Portal".

Please download the complete report "Advancements of the BAuA Product Safety Portal: Internet Trade and Product Safety" (in German only).

Bibliographic information

D. Gesmann-Nuissl, M. Grathwohl:
Weiterentwicklung des BAuA-Produktsicherheitsportals: Internethandel und Produktsicherheit. 
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2014. 
ISBN: 978-3-88261-028-4, pages 198, Project number: F 2256, paper, PDF file

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