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General Product and Safety Regulations

Suppliers Affected

5.1 The Regulations apply to all UK suppliers of products used by consumers, whether intended for them or not, and whether the goods were intended for use in the UK or another Member State. Suppliers in the Regulations may be either ”producers” or ”distributors”. It should be noted that both terms have particular meanings for the purpose of the General Product Safety Directive – and hence the Regulations – and do not correspond with their normal everyday usage. Thus, it should not be presumed that a wholesaler or a retailer will in every case be a ”distributor” for the purpose of the Regulations, nor that ”producer” refers solely to a manufacturer. We consider that a person who finances the sale of products on hire purchase, or an insurer who provides products to a consumer under an obligation in an insurance policy, is generally not a distributor under the terms of the Regulations so the person from whom the products are actually obtained (the effective supplier) or the producer will normally be responsible for the safety of those products.

5.2 A consumer who sells his surplus personal possessions at a car boot sale is outside of the scope of the Regulations unless the consumer is doing this as a commercial activity. A consumer, who as part of the sale of his permanent dwelling includes in the sale existing furnishings and fittings (including domestic appliances), is also outside the scope of the Regulations.


5.3 For practical purposes, ”producer” is defined in two ways – either as the first placer of the product on the Community market or as someone whose activities may affect the safety of the product.

5.4 ”Producer” in relation to a particular product means: l the manufacturer (where he is established in the Community); l any person who presents himself as the manufacturer by putting his name or trademark on the product (the brand owner); l any person who repairs or reconditions the product; or l other professionals (see Annex A) in the supply chain if their activities may affect the safety properties of a product after it has been supplied to them.

5.5 If the manufacturer is not established in the Community, the producer will be: l either the manufacturer’s representative in the Community, or; l where there is no Community representative, the importer of the product into the Community.

5.6 In practice, the requirements of the Regulations, as they relate to producers, apply to any of the above persons who are established in the UK.

5.7 A producer is not necessarily just the person who manufactures something. It includes any professional in the supply chain whose activities affect the safety of the product. For example a person who reconditions, works, re-works or customises a product will place a different product on the market to that which he started out with and hence be responsible under the Regulations in so far as his activities may have affected the safety properties of the product. The corollary of this is that to the extent that this person’s activities did not affect the safety properties of the product, the original producer will continue to be responsible for its safety.


5.8 ”Distributor”, in contrast, is any professional in the supply chain whose activities do not affect the safety of a product. This can include wholesalers, retailers (shops), agents and auctioneers. However, auctioneers are neither producers nor distributors for the purposes of the Regulations when they are merely acting under instructions to conduct the sale (i.e. controlling the bidding and knocking down to the highest bidder) of an item for the owner, and it is the owner who is the seller. But, an auctioneer who had purchased the contents of a house on a clearance basis would be a distributor and subject to the Regulations when he subsequently auctioned the contents. Similarly, an individual who buys goods to sell on a bidding basis (whether from a temporary site or established premises) will come within the ambit of the Regulations.

5.9 A person who makes a product available for the use of a consumer in the course of delivering a service will for the most part also be considered a distributor. However, if the product carries the service supplier’s own brand, or if he has in any way altered the characteristic of the product so as to affect its safety properties, he will be considered to be a producer.