Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and Catch.com.au have signed a pledge to improve product safety. Here's what they're promising to do

Woman in cafe shopping online with laptop
  • Amazon Australia, Ali Express, eBay Australia and Catch.com.au are the four inaugural signatories to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Australian Product Safety Pledge.
  • Companies who take the pledge commit to a range of product safety initiatives and reporting measures in the ecommerce industry.
  • A 2015 sweep found that two-thirds of a list of banned and recalled products were available for sale online.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories

Four of the biggest Australian ecommerce retailers are the inaugural signatories to a new government initiative trying to stamp out dangerous and defective online products.

Amazon Australia, AliExpress, eBay Australia and Catch.com.au have all signed the Australian Product Safety Pledge, a new, voluntary scheme run by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Signatories to the pledge commit to implementing 12 product safety actions as well as reporting annually on three measures of safety.

The actions are made up of efforts that are both meant to prevent unsafe products and to assist consumers when they do encounter them.

These include consulting sources for recalled and unsafe products, helping regulators identify where unsafe products come from, stopping repeat offenders from selling unsafe products and explore new technologies to detect and remove unsafe products.

The ACCC will then publish an annual report about their performance on the following measures: responsiveness to product recalls or take-down requests, their supply of safety information and the quality of their product safety mitigation strategies.

“Unsafe products can cause significant harm to Australian consumers, impacting not only the health and wellbeing of consumers but also the broader economy, resulting in a loss of consumer confidence and trust,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

The ACCC launched the pledge in response to the the acceleration of the ecommerce industry, particularly as more shoppers moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we navigate changes fuelled by the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, it is more important than ever for businesses to take positive steps to ensure consumers are provided with a safe and trusted online shopping experience,” the ACCC’s website reads.

In the past, online shopping has struggled with ensuring compliance with product safety measures.

A 2015 sweep by the ACCC in 2015 found two-thirds of banned or recalled products were available online, and more than half of the 136 products and inspected didn’t comply with regulations.

These are the 12 actions that signatories to the pledge commit to undertaking:

  • Regularly consult the Product Safety Australia website and other relevant sources for information on recalled/unsafe products. Take appropriate action[1] on these products once they are identified.
  • Provide a dedicated contact point(s) for Australian regulatory authorities to notify and request take-downs of recalled/unsafe products.
  • Remove identified unsafe product listings within two business days of the dedicated contact point(s) receiving a take-down request from Australian regulatory authorities. Inform authorities on the action that has been taken and any relevant outcomes.
  • Cooperate with Australian regulatory authorities in identifying, as far as possible, the supply chain of unsafe products by responding to data/information requests within ten business days should relevant information not be publicly available.
  • Have an internal mechanism for processing data/information requests and take-downs of unsafe products.
  • Provide a clear pathway for consumers to notify the pledge signatory directly of unsafe product listings. Such notifications are treated according to the signatory’s processes and where responses to consumers are appropriate, they are given within five business days.
  • Implement measures to facilitate sellers’ compliance with Australian product safety laws. Share information with sellers on compliance training/guidance, including a link to the ACCC’s Selling online page on the Product Safety Australia website.
  • Cooperate with Australian regulatory authorities and sellers to inform consumers[2] about relevant recalls or corrective actions on unsafe products.
  • Set up processes aimed at preventing or restricting the sale of banned, non-compliant and recalled products as appropriate.
  • Put in place reasonable measures to act against repeat offenders selling unsafe products, including in cooperation with Australian regulatory authorities.
  • Take measures aimed at preventing the reappearance of unsafe product listings already removed.
  • Explore the potential use of new technologies and innovation to improve the detection and removal of unsafe products.

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