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Agreement on revised General Product Safety, what changes compared to the current rules

On 29 November, following the third political trilogue, the EU institutions reached a provisional political agreement on the General Product Safety Regulation.

The agreed rules present major changes compared to the current directive.

First, businesses will need to designate a responsible person for their products sold in the EU. It means that the manufacturer, importer or distributor will need to ensure that this person is established in the EU and responsible for the safety of its products. The responsible person will be charged with verifying that technical documentation is available and that instructions and safety information is provided.

The GPSR also foresees additional information requirements on product packages, such as the obligation to include the email address of the manufacturer and the details of a consumer service.

These new requirements will entail significant costs, especially for SMEs in third countries placing products on the EU market.

The new Regulation also considers the Digital Services Act which recently entered into force.

Online marketplaces will have to respect strict deadlines for removing dangerous products. For instance, the bigger online marketplaces, such as Amazon, will have to comply with a removal order within two days. These platforms will also have to offer the option for users to flag an unsafe product and online marketplaces will have three days to verify the accuracy of the warning.

A system of automatic notification to authorising consumers is also foreseen to provide direct information in case a product is recalled. The notification will have to include a choice for remedy i.e. repair, replace, or refund.

However, while the Digital Services Act requires online marketplaces to conduct random checks on products that are already on the market against any existing database, the GPSR lightened this obligation by linking these checks to the Safety Gate.

The European Parliament and Council are expected to formally adopt the agreed text in the coming weeks. The revised GPSR will apply 18 months after the entry into force, likely in the course of 2024.

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