Online shopping is here to stay, with many retailers benefitting from increased online sales due to COVID-19. To protect consumer interests, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have developed an Australian product safety pledge in response to increased popularity of online retail and marketplaces. This article outlines the pledge and what you can do to adopt its principles in your online business.
What is the Australian Product Safety Pledge?
The Australian Product Safety Pledge is a voluntary initiative from the ACCC introduced in 2021, which seeks to protect consumers and manage product safety in online retail and marketplaces. Current signatories to the pledge include AliExpress, Amazon Australia, Catch.com.au, eBay Australia and MyDeal.com.au. Signatories commit to implementing 12 product safety actions and other reporting obligations.
While the pledge is voluntary, the principles are relevant to many businesses operating online, especially marketplaces. Businesses should be familiar with the principles, as they largely overlap with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) and the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACCC encourages online marketplaces and retailers to take the pledge in an effort to improve product safety for consumers.
What are the 12 product safety actions?
Signatories to the Australian Product Safety Pledge commit to the following actions:
- Regularly consulting Product Safety Australia and other relevant sources for information on unsafe or recalled products, taking action where necessary.
- Providing contact information for Australian regulatory authorities to notify signatories and request take-downs of unsafe or recalled products.
- Removing identified unsafe product listings within two business days of receiving a take-down request from authorities.
- Responding to information requests from authorities within 10 business days in relation to identifying the supply chain of unsafe products.
- Adopting internal mechanisms for processing information requests and removal of unsafe products.
- Providing clear pathways for consumers to notify the company of unsafe product listings.
- Implementing measures which assist sellers in complying with Australian product safety laws. This may include providing information, training or guidance on the standards.
- Informing consumers about recalls or unsafe products in cooperation with authorities.
- Adopting processes to prevent or restrict sale of banned, non-compliant and recalled products.
- Adopting measures to act against sellers who repeatedly sell unsafe products.
- Adopting measures to prevent reappearance of unsafe product listings already removed.
- Exploring the use of new innovation and technology to improve the detection and take-down of unsafe products.
What does the pledge mean for my business?
The Australian Product Safety Pledge demonstrates the ACCC’s commitment to maintaining a safe and effective online retail space for consumers. Although the pledge is voluntary, it serves as an important reminder for retailers to ensure their online operations are compliant with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Businesses should review their current processes and policies in light of the pledge. You may wish to consider:
- Does your business have processes in place for dealing with unsafe products or product recalls?
- What agreements does your marketplace have with sellers and where does liability fall if a product is faulty or unsafe?
- Does your business have contact information clearly displayed on your website if the ACCC or other authority needs to contact you?
- Do your contracts and agreements with sellers and users include updated clauses about COVID-19 delays?
- The ACCC has introduced a voluntary pledge to improve product safety in online retail and marketplaces.
- Signatories to the pledge commit to adopting several safety actions to protect and inform consumers regarding unsafe products.
- Online retailers and marketplaces should review their current processes and policies in light of the new pledge.
Gladwin Legal are experts in retail law. We have extensive experience in advising businesses, marketplaces and e-commerce organisations. If you would like to know how we can help, please contact us at or 1300 033 934.