While online retailers in the EU have to comply with a whole range of laws, retailers from third countries are often not so strict about compliance with the law. In addition to the obligations from the Electrical and Packaging Act, this also often applies to provisions from the ordinance on product safety. Normally certain products can only be imported into the EU with a CE mark. Anyone who does not adhere to it must expect a fine or, especially in Germany, a warning under competition law. Here, however, the limits are quickly reached: The affected dealers are often not within reach.
Duty to be a recognized representative
“Some salespeople are simply not tangible. The contact details, address or telephone number provided are incorrect or do not even exist, ”says a press release from TÜV Rheinland. In order to make traders from third countries more tangible for consumers and authorities in the future, the regulation on market surveillance and the conformity of products is to be changed with effect from July 16, 2021. In the future, online retailers from third countries will have to show a recognized representation within the EU in order to be able to offer products on the European market. This representative should then be the point of contact for authorities and consumers in matters of product safety.
However, this not only strengthens consumer protection, but also makes competition fairer at the same time. In this country, retailers incur quite a few costs to meet requirements such as the CE mark. Retailers who save these costs can, on balance, offer their products cheaper. If they are also not available to consumers, they also save costs that can arise from exercising consumer rights.