The toy sector values a well-functioning e-commerce system and online platforms are an important sale channel for reputable toy manufacturers. However, reports, including our own investigation last year, show that loopholes in the current e-commerce rules are giving dishonest sellers of dangerous toys direct access to EU consumers.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) is an opportunity to address these gaps. The DSA can introduce future-proof rules that uphold safety, transparency, and accountability in the online space. This will make e-commerce safer for consumers and fairer for reputable businesses.
Whilst there are positive aspects in the European Commission’s proposal, we regret that it leaves too many loopholes open. Specifically, the proposal does not make sure that the strict EU toy safety rules can be enforced for sellers based outside the EU, who gain access to EU consumers via online platforms. The conditions for the liability exemption provide leeway for marketplaces to escape any responsibility for their role in facilitating this.
To make sure that what is illegal offline, is also illegal online, and that all illegal practices can be effectively enforced, we recommend that the European Parliament and Council:
1. Introduce an importer responsibility in EU law for online marketplaces if sellers are based outside the EU
2. Include further conditions to the liability exemption for online intermediaries
3. Expand provisions on traceability of traders
4. Clarify the difference between general and specific monitoring obligations and include specific provisions for illegal products
5. Include a notice, action & stay down obligation
6. Improve provisions on trusted flaggers
7. Reinforce measures against repeat offenders
8. Apply proposed requirements for Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) to all online intermediaries
9. Add transparency obligations to share information on illegal content