General Product Safety Regulation: What You Need to Know

On 23 May 2023, the new General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) was published in the Official Journal. The Regulation was formally adopted on 10 May 2023. The GPSR completely overhauls the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD). This directive was already 21 years old. The GPSR affects both online and offline sales of products in the European Union. The GPSR impacts all manufacturers, importers, and distributors of consumer products. Here, we discuss how the GPSR will impact your business.

Link to the text of the General Product Safety Regulation (EU) 2023/988

All products traded in the EU are subject to general safety requirements. However, to keep up with challenges linked to digitalization and the increasing amount of goods and products sold online, the general product safety rules in force are no longer suited to addressing current digital and technological developments and challenges.

This regulation will help to reduce the number of dangerous products sold both offline and online in the EU market, including in online marketplaces. Consumers will be better protected and will also be entitled to a refund or replacement if they have purchased an unsafe product.
Jozef Síkela, Czech minister for industry and trade.

The GPSR, therefore, transforms the general product safety directive from 2001 into regulation, modernizes the rules for all economic operators (manufacturers, importers, and distributors), and updates them for online businesses and online marketplaces. Transforming the directive into a regulation will ensure a sound legal framework to guarantee that products are safe and follow European standards.

Buying safe products online

“In 2021, 73% of consumers bought products online (compared to 50% in 2014), and in 2020, 21% ordered something from outside the EU (8% in 2014). According to Safety Gate’s2020 annual report, 26% of notifications of dangerous products concerned products sold online, while at least 62% concerned products coming from outside the EU and EEA.

The new rules are projected to save EU consumers around 1 billion euros in the first year and approximately 5.5 billion over the next decade. By reducing the number of unsafe products on the market, the new measures should reduce the harm caused to EU consumers due to preventable, product-related accidents (estimated today at 11.5 billion euros per year) and the cost of healthcare (estimated at 6.7 billion euros per year).” Source: European Parliament.

The GPSR links product safety challenges to new technologies and to online marketplaces. Online marketplaces will have to cooperate with market surveillance authorities if they detect a dangerous product on their platform. For that purpose, they would be required to establish a single point of contact in charge of product safety.

Online marketplaces will have to ensure they know the traders who operate on their platforms and the products they offer. Market surveillance authorities will be able to issue orders requiring online marketplaces to remove dangerous products from their platforms or to disable access to such offers. The General Product Safety Regulation also creates a single market surveillance regime that applies to all products. In this way, it consolidates what was already laid down in the European Union Market Surveillance Regulation 1020/2019.

Better consumer protection

If a product has proven to be unsafe, economic operators are required to immediately adopt corrective measures and inform market surveillance authorities and consumers accordingly. If a product has to be recalled, consumers will be entitled to repair, replacement, or a refund. When possible, economic operators have to make sure that consumers can choose from at least two of these options.

Responsible person

The new rules ensure that economic operators have a responsible person for products sold online and offline, whether they originate from the EU or from a third country.
The responsible person will be in charge of checking that technical documentation exists for the products that they are responsible for offered by the economic operator and that products are accompanied by instructions and safety information.

Following the formal adoption of the regulation and its entry into force, member states will have 18 months to apply the new rules on general product safety.

Stay informed about the General Product Safety Regulation

Alura Group will continue to keep you informed about the developments regarding the General Product Safety Regulation on this page. Please return later for more updates and explanations. If you are interested in the European Union product safety regulations and the General Product Safety Regulation, we recommend you to read our article about the Market Surveillance Regulation and watch the video that explains the rules for products sold via e-commerce platforms.

Read also the articles about the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR) in our Product Compliance Library. Such as: