Sunglasses with no UV protection among products stopped by consumer watchdog

More than 33,000 products were prevented from entering the Irish market last year

Isolde Goggin, chair of the CCPC, said the watchdog’s aim is ‘to ensure that goods placed on the Irish market do not pose a safety risk to consumers’. File photograph: Eric Luke

Isolde Goggin, chair of the CCPC, said the watchdog’s aim is ‘to ensure that goods placed on the Irish market do not pose a safety risk to consumers’. File photograph: Eric Luke

 

More than 33,000 products, including toys and sunglasses, were prevented from entering the Irish market last year amid safety concerns, the consumer watchdog has said.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), working with the Revenue’s Customs Service, examined 42 consignments containing more than 346,000 potentially unsafe products in 2018.

Following inspection, the CCPC investigators found that 33,688 products did not meet the relevant EU and Irish safety regulations and standards and were therefore not fit for use by Irish consumers.

The products that were stopped by the CCPC include toys, sun glasses, kitchen appliances, electrical adaptors, chargers and hoverboards.

The risks ranged from potential eye damage for sunglasses which did not provide UVA/UVB protection, to fire hazards arising from unsafe phone chargers.

Isolde Goggin, chair of the CCPC, said the watchdog’s aim is “to ensure that goods placed on the Irish market do not pose a safety risk to consumers”.

“The 33,688 products we stopped last year did not meet required safety standards and so we took the necessary steps to ensure that such products were either re-exported or destroyed and that consumers in Ireland were not put at risk,” Ms Goggin said.

“Manufacturers, importers and distributors who sell to consumers in Ireland are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell comply with all of the relevant product safety regulations and standards.”

She added: “Failure to do so may not only result in financial loss to the trader but more importantly their products may cause physical harm to their customers.”

Destruction

Ms Goggin said if the commission finds that a trader has failed in their duties to comply with these rules, they will take “appropriate measures”, including seizure, forced destruction or re-exportation.

The chairwoman also highlighted changes that are afoot for Irish businesses once the UK leaves the EU.

“Once the UK leaves the Customs Union, it will become a third country and products from the UK will be treated the same as products which have originated from any other non-EU country, such as China or the United States,” Ms Goggin said.

“If you buy from a UK-based supplier, you will be importing from a third country into the EU. Therefore, your business must comply with specific importers’ obligations under the relevant product safety regulations.”

The CCPC has increased staff resources “to ensure that consumers in Ireland are not at risk from unsafe products after Brexit”.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, said supporting businesses and citizens to prepare for Brexit is the “highest priority” across Government.

“Although the situation for many businesses remains unpredictable, the reality is we are quickly approaching October 31st,” she said.

“We have been working hard to put a range of supports in place to help firms identify the actions they need to take now to prepare. I am strongly urging all businesses to avail of the resources we have made available to them.”