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Stay safe when shopping online

It is of vital importance to check for outstanding recalls and immediately register products when buying online, according to consumer advice from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The stark warning comes as part of International Product Safety Week, a campaign to raise awareness of product safety issues when shopping on the internet.

The world of e-commerce is growing rapidly. Compared to 2010, where 36% of individuals living in OECD member countries bought goods online, that figure had risen to over 50% by 2016.

The OECD’s research found that the reasons for this growth lie in ‘the ease and convenience of setting up an online presence, easier consumer access to a wide range of goods and services at competitive prices, new business models enabling relying on new technologies, as well as growing use of mobile devices’.

This rapid growth brings new consumer product safety risks and challenges, which this campaign is designed to tackle. The OECD sets out clear guidelines on the responsibilities of online platforms and sellers, and supports consumers in making safe choices when shopping for products online.

1)    Consumers

  • Check if the products you are buying have been issued outstanding recalls
  • Register your products after purchase and report safety issues if they arise
  • Check information on who you are buying from, including ratings, reviews and safety compliance information

2)    Online Sellers

  • Make sure you are selling safe products
  • Comply with product safety laws in all countries where you offer products
  • Share product safety information and concerns with consumers effectively and be responsive to both consumers and authorities

3)    Online platforms

  • Identify and remove unsafe products from your platform
  • Always ensure seller’s contact details are clearly visible
  • Promote product safety compliance and work cooperatively with relevant authorities

Chief Executive at CTSI, Leon Livermore, said: “In a world that is increasingly turning to online marketplaces for the best deals, it is vital that consumers know how to stay safe, and that businesses know their responsibilities.”

“The guidance set out by the OECD is essential to anyone buying and selling online.”

In association with the Office for Product Safety and Standards, CTSI has produced an advice video discussing the key messages and issues that surround product safety when shopping online.

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