Last checked : 16/07/2018

Defective products

UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information

As of 30 March 2019, all EU law will cease to apply to the UK, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, or the European Council and the UK decide unanimously to extend the two-year negotiation period. For more information about the legal repercussions for businesses:

You are liable for a defect in your products. If they cause harm to your customers: death, personal injury or material damage to personal belongings (exceeding EUR 500), you could end up in serious trouble.

The defectiveness of your products is determined by the lack of safety which the consumers are entitled to expect, not to their fitness for use.

Take care when you:

If more than one business is responsible for the safety of the same product, the injured party can take any of them to court.

Liability rules also apply to electricity and agricultural products. Your sales contract may not contain terms that reduce your responsibility for a defective product.

Compensation claims

To claim compensation for damage suffered, the injured party must prove that:

Cases when you are not liable

You bear no liability if you can prove that:

The injured party has 3 years to claim compensation, starting on the day they became aware of:

You are no longer responsible for damage caused by your product once it has been on the market for 10 years, unless someone has claimed compensation from you during that period.

Search for unsafe products: RAPEX

EU national authorities can act (by recalling products or banning trade) to deal with products that pose a serious risk to the health or safety of consumers. Manufacturers can also recall their products. In all cases, any action taken is recorded in the RAPEX database. RAPEX does not track measures taken against agricultural products nor against pharmaceutical and medical devices.

Reporting a non-compliant product

Each EU country has its own national authority in charge of ensuring products placed on the market are compliant.

If you are a manufacturer, distributor or an authorised representative and you believe one of the products you have on sale doesn't comply with the EU requirements, you can report these issues to your national authority via the Product Safety Business Alert Gateway.

Please be aware that you can only use this reporting tool if you are a manufacturer, a distributor or an authorised representative.

If you have any questions about this process or want to verify anything, please contact your national contact point.

Upcoming EU regulations

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Local business support - Do you have questions on operating a business cross-border, for example exporting or expanding to another EU country? If so, the Enterprise Europe Network can give you free advice.

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