29 July 2011

National Consumer Commission publishes draft Consumer Product Safety Recall Guidelines - open for comment

National Consumer Commission publishes draft Consumer Product Safety Recall Guidelines - open for comment until 10 August 2011

The Consumer Protection Act, 68 of 2008 (CPA), enjoins the National Consumer Commission (NCC) to promote the development, adoption and application of industry specific codes of conduct, effectively allowing it to devolve certain of its oversight roles onto approved industry bodies. The Act envisages that through approved codes of conduct these industry bodies will be able to engage in self regulation and one of the important functions of any approved code of conduct will be to regulate the safety monitoring and potential recall of goods which are unsafe.

In an effort to provide guidance to suppliers as to how they are to undertake the responsibilities the CPA places on them in terms of safety monitoring and recall of unsafe goods, the NCC has recently published draft Consumer Product Safety Recall Guidelines. The draft guidelines require suppliers of goods to adopt a system to ensure the efficient and effective recall of unsafe consumer products both from consumers and from within the supply chain. The same principles could also potentially apply to suppliers in the absence of approved industry codes of conduct.

In their current form the draft guidelines create onerous and sometimes impractical obligations for suppliers. It is of paramount importance that the regime for safety monitoring and recall be established based on effective and practical principles from the get go as it may become increasingly difficult to engage with the NCC on these issues once the final guidelines are in place. The draft guidelines are open for comments until 10 August 2011.

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