This report highlights significant variations in the way that different countries protect consumers from unsafe products, leading to a fragmented system globally that struggles to respond effectively to the product safety challenges of the 21st century. The findings, based on a Consumers International survey of 132 organisations in 100 countries worldwide, reveal low levels of satisfaction with the current situation, only 13 percent of respondents think that their national product safety legislation operates successfully.
Product safety frameworks are far more developed in some countries than others, and all have their own difficulties. However, in addition to these, all are facing new challenges caused by recent technological advances which have transformed the way that consumer products are designed, manufactured and sold, sending product safety rocketing back up the consumer protection agenda. The growth of international supply chains and e-commerce have opened up a global marketplace for consumer products, creating unprecedented challenges for market surveillance and enforcement systems, which were originally set up to operate at a national or regional level. Technological developments have led to new products entering the market, and fundamental changes being made to existing products, such as internet-connected toys and domestic appliances. Although these technological advances bring positive benefits for consumers, they have created new risks, exposing weaknesses in existing consumer protection frameworks that must be addressed.
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