Four major online marketplaces sign EU product safety pledge

EU and major online marketplaces sign product safety pledge
European Commissioner Vĕra Jourová © Dutch Government/Martijn Beekman

The European Commission and four of the world’s largest online marketplaces have signed a pledge to accelerate their efforts to remove dangerous products listed on their sites.

The product safety pledge was prepared by the European Commission and signed by Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and Rakuten. The pledge commits these companies – some of the largest online marketplaces in the world – to take action when notified of dangerous products by member state authorities within two working days, and to respond to notices by customers within five working days.

According to the most recent Eurostat data, 20% of total sales were conducted online in 2016. However, notifications of dangerous products are also growing online, requiring online marketplaces to increase their efforts to intervene in a timely manner and remove any potentially dangerous products.

What commitments are made in the product safety pledge?

The measures to which the four online giants have agreed include a commitment to provide a clear way for customers to notify dangerous product listings, so that they can take swift action to remove them. The companies have also agreed to establish a dedicated point of contact for EU and member state authorities to facilitate communication on product safety issues.

In addition to these measures, the companies in question will develop and utilise technology to prevent the reappearance of dangerous product listings which have already been removed, and provide information to sellers using the platform on how they can ensure they comply with EU safety legislation.

Does the commission have plans to expand the pledge?

According to European Commissioner for Consumers, Vĕra Jourová, the growth of online shopping demands that more online marketplaces commit to preventing the sale of dangerous products, and increasing the number of signatories to the pledge is one way that the EU aims to achieve this.

She stated: “More and more people in the EU are shopping online. E-commerce has opened up new possibilities for consumers, offering them more choice at lower prices. Consumers should be just as safe when they buy online, as when they buy in a shop. I welcome the product safety pledge, which will further improve consumer safety. I call also on other online marketplaces to join this initiative, so that the internet becomes a safer place for EU consumers.”


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