Sustainability and Trader Obligations
The CCPC supports initiatives that encourage traders and consumers alike to engage in greater sustainability practices across the EU and Ireland. This includes engaging with the circular economy by re-using and recycling products where possible. While such practices are beneficial to the environment, traders selling used and recycled goods must always ensure that the rights of consumers are protected by fulfilling their obligations under consumer law.
Traders who sell used and recycled products should exercise professional due diligence before offering them for sale. For example, traders should make themselves aware of the prior history and usage of the product; the results to be expected from the product and whether there is any risk to consumer safety from the product. This information, and any other information that may impact on the consumers decision to purchase a product, should be provided by the trader to the consumer to inform the consumer’s decision whether or not to purchase the product.
Traders must not mislead consumers about the characteristics, features and functionality of a product such as its prior usage history, or previous damage that could impact its functionality and expected performance. Traders must not omit providing material information in relation to a product as consumers must be provided with the necessary information to make an informed transactional decision. This is particularly important when it comes to re-used and recycled goods. Providing false or inadequate product information is a prohibited commercial practice and may cause consumers to buy a product they would otherwise not have purchaed.
Consequently, traders who mislead consumers will be exposed to potential enforcement actions from the CCPC. The Consumer Protection Act 2007 provides the CCPC with a range of enforcement powers to help achieve compliance with consumer protection law, examples of which include Undertakings and Compliance Notices as well as the power to prosecute traders who have breached consumer protection law.