Children’s safety is the number one priority for Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), the voice of reputable toy makers in the EU. We are worried as our recent investigation1 shows that an alarming amount of dangerous and illegal toys are available in the EU through online marketplaces.
The choice and convenience offered by online marketplaces makes them an important sales channel for the toy sector and a key part of our supply chain. But due to a lack of clarity in the legislation, online marketplaces are not required to do checks for toys from third-party sellers, like normal importers or distributors. All too often, they facilitate the sale of dangerous and illegal toys.
The burden to keep dangerous toys sold online away from children falls on the shoulders of customs officials, who cannot control the influx of billions of small packages. This puts children at risk, leads to unfair competition and undermines trust in e-commerce.
We call on the EU to seize the opportunity of the revision of its e-commerce- and product safety rules to better protect consumers from dangerous products. Voluntary actions do not work. Unless online marketplaces are legally required to take responsibility, the sale of illegal and dangerous goods will continue to grow.
We urgently need revised rules to make sure online marketplaces are required to:
– prevent dangerous toys to be offered for sale on their platforms (proactive measures)
– react effectively when unsafe toys are discovered (reactive actions)
– screen toy sellers and collect verified contact information (traceability requirements)
Rules for online marketplaces can only be truly effective if they go hand-in-hand with effective enforcement, including deterrent sanctions and increased awareness of toy safety rules among sellers. In the meantime, consumers should be aware that nobody is held accountable for the safety of toys sold by third-party sellers based outside the EU.
TIE’s Position Paper on Child Safety and Online Marketplaces can be found here.