Product safety

Our Responsibilities 
What we do
Product recalls
Rapid Alert System (RAPEX)
What to do if you find an unsafe or dangerous product
What to do if you bought a product that has been recalled
The CE mark

Our Responsibilities

It is important that consumers only buy products that are safe and comply with EU safety regulations. The CCPC is responsible for making sure that a wide range of products sold in Ireland meet specific regulations including:

  • Toys
  • Recreational personal protective equipment such as helmets, sun glasses and swimming aids
  • Domestic electrical and gas appliances
  • General consumer products such as furniture, children’s clothing, window blinds and cigarette lighters

What we do

  • We investigate complaints from consumers about unsafe products.
  • We work with Customs to prevent unsafe products being placed on the Irish market.
  • We inspect products to ensure that they comply with relevant standards and legislation.
  • We advise manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and their representative bodies about their responsibilities under the product safety legislation.
  • We let consumers know about unsafe products through our database of product recalls and on our social media channels.
  • We manage Ireland’s input to the EU product safety rapid alert recall system, RAPEX.

Other organisations with a product safety role

Product Market Safety Monitored By
Machinery, chemicals and personal protective equipment used in the workplace, for example, hard hats Health & Safety Authority
Medical devices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals Health Products Regulatory Authority
Mobile phones and radio equipment, for example, any appliance or device that has Bluetooth or internet connectivity Commission for Communications Regulation
Food and food supplements Food Safety Authority of Ireland
Construction products Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Product recalls

Sometimes a manufacturer or distributor will discover a fault in a product or in a batch of products. If they think the product is unsafe, they are legally required to stop selling it. They may also ask consumers to return the product to them for repair, or provide a replacement or refund. This is known as a product recall. It’s not always possible for them to contact everyone who has bought the product directly, so you might see an advertisement about recalls in the paper, online or a notice in shops which sold the product.

Find out about the latest product recalls

Rapid Alert System (RAPEX)

The CCPC is the Irish contact point for a Europe-wide rapid alert system for unsafe products called RAPEX, which contains a list of all product recalls that have taken place in the EU. If an unsafe product is found anywhere in Europe, we will quickly know about it through this rapid alert system. RAPEX does not include food recalls.

When we find out about a recall which is relevant to Irish consumers through RAPEX, we add it to our list of product recalls on our website and let consumers know through social media. If we believe that a product is a risk to the health and safety of consumers, we have the power to remove that product from the Irish market and we can prosecute a retailer if they don’t comply.

What to do if you bought a product that has been recalled

  • Tell the retailer. It may turn out to be a once-off fault in which case you are entitled to a repair, replacement, reduction in the price or refund. You will need proof of purchase such as a receipt or bank or credit card statement.
  • If you are still not satisfied about the safety of the product, contact us immediately with details about the product and where you bought it.
Top Tip
When you buy a new electrical item it’s always worth registering it with the manufacturer. You can usually do this online and often you get an extended warranty if you register. If the product is recalled later, the manufacturer will be able to contact you.

What to do if you find a dangerous or unsafe product

Businesses (including manufacturers, importers, suppliers and retailers) must only place safe products on the market. If a business discovers that a product it placed on the market is unsafe and poses a risk to the health and safety of consumers, it must remove the product from sale. If this happens, the business may:

  • Contact you directly to offer you a repair, a refit, or a replacement part. Cars, for example, are rarely replaced but faulty parts may be replaced or fixed.
  • Provide warnings and information about the faulty product through advertisements and in-store notices.
  • Inform the manufacturer and the CCPC.
  • Recall the product (take it off the market).

If you hear about a product recall and think you are affected, check the product recall details carefully for model numbers, batch numbers and the year of manufacture. It may only be a specific batch being recalled or it might just affect certain countries.

Follow the instructions given in the product recall notice carefully.

Did you know?
Sometimes products have safety features built-in as part of their design. For example, some products such as ovens, glass-top tables, washing machines and windscreens have safety glass fitted. In some circumstances, this glass can suddenly shatter into very small pieces. The glass is designed to do this if it breaks so that there are no large pieces which can cause an injury. You may think that this is a product safety issue if the glass breaks, but it is a deliberate safety feature of the product. The safety glass may break for a number of reasons such as:

  • if the box or product was dropped, or knocked during storage or transportation
  • if the glass has been scratched or damaged because something was dropped on it, something knocked against it or it has been cleaned aggressively
  • if, for example, an oven door is slammed shut or hits a shelf or a dish which has not been placed correctly in the oven or something heavy is placed on top of it then the glass could shatter into small pieces

However, if you think it is a manufacturing fault which caused the glass to break, contact the retailer as you are entitled to a repair, replacement, reduction in the price or refund, as normal.

The CE mark

Certain types of products sold in the EU must comply with specific safety regulations and must have a CE mark. These include:

• Toys
• Domestic electrical, electronic and gas appliances
• Personal protective equipment used by consumers for example, bicycle helmets, sunglasses, swimming armbands

The CE mark looks like this:

CE Mark

Did you know?
The letters CE are an abbreviation of the French term ‘Conformité Européenne’ which means European Conformity.

The CE mark is a manufacturer’s declaration that the product complies with the safety regulations and the safety standards that exist in the EU to protect consumers. It should appear on the product, in the instruction manual or on the packaging and must be easy to read.

Top Tips
  • Always look for the CE mark when shopping for these products and if you can’t see it, don’t buy it.
  • Make sure that the CE mark is real. The CE mark is very distinctive and some manufacturers might forge the symbol on their packaging to give the impression they have met safety standards when, in fact, they haven’t.
  • Report unsafe products to the CCPC. If you come across a toy or product that seems unsafe or looks like it has a fake CE mark, don’t buy it and contact us.

There are some products that don’t require a CE mark, however they must comply with General Product Safety Regulations to ensure that they are safe. These include childcare items, such as cots or babies’ soothers/dummies and other items like candles, cigarette lighters and Christmas decorations.

Get more information about the CE mark and standards at www.nsai.ie.

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