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Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection involves ensuring all goods on sale to the public are safe for the intended use. Manufacturers, distributors and suppliers have the responsibility to ensure that products placed on the market are safe. 

The main pieces of legislation dealing with the safety of consumer goods are: 

Government Guidance: 
Specific Government Guidance on a range of products can be found at Product safety for businesses: A to Z of industry guidance.

​Product safety advice for businesses outlines what you need to know about and do to comply with the law and keep consumers safe if you make, import, distribute or sell consumer products.

What we do: 
The Council helps protect consumers against unsafe goods through:

  • Responding to consumer complaints

  • Carrying out visits premises to ensure goods on sale are safe

  • Providing advice to businesses about legislation

  • Sampling a wide range of consumer goods to ensure they meet required standards of safety.

EU Exit

As part of the Withdrawal Agreement a Transition Period was agreed that came to an end on 31 December 2020.  Northern Ireland continues to align with all relevant EU rules relating to the placing on the market of manufactured goods, however there may be changes that affect your business. This places more responsibility on local businesses who may have previously been distributors or retailers, are now producers.

  • If you manufacture goods in NI, or act as the manufacturer by affixing your name, trademark etc. to a product or you recondition a product you are now known as the Producer of the product.

  • If you place a product on the market that was manufactured in GB or the EEA you are now known as the Producer of the product.

  • If you are a professional in the supply chain and your activities may affect the safety of a product you are now known as the Producer of the product.

  • If you source products from GB, you may now become an importer and your obligations would then change.

Obligations of a Producers/Importer include: 

  • Before placing a product on the market you must ensure that it is a safe product, i.e. one which under normal or reasonably foreseeable condition of use does not present any risk or only the minimum risk compatible with the product’s use.

  • You must provide consumers with the relevant information to enable them to assess the risk inherent in the product throughout the normal or reasonably foreseeable period of its use. (where such risks are not immediately obvious) and to take precautions against those risks.

  • You must also allow for traceability by indicating on the product or its packaging (except when it is not reasonable to do so): (a) your name and address product (b) reference / batch number of the product.

  • You must adopt measures to know the risks your product might present, for e.g. sample test marketed products; investigate and, if necessary, keep a register of complaints concerning the safety of the product; and keep distributors informed of the results.

General Product Safety Regulations Guide 

For businesses placing products not covered by other specific legislation on the market in Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021. 

This guide is designed to help you comply with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, as they apply in NI. They set out the requirements that must be met before products can be placed on the NI market.  The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the market in NI. This is done by requiring producers to ensure that consumer products meet the general safety requirement. 

Electrical Equipment Guidance

From January 2021, there have been changes to the requirements regarding electrical equipment which may affect your business. If you source products from GB, you may now become an importer and your obligations would then change. 

Please read the guidance carefully and note it may be subject to change. 

Cosmetic Guidance 

Your role in placing products in supply chain may have changed in light of Brexit and you now may be known as the producer or an importer and therefore your obligations will have changed. 

The guide for businesses placing cosmetic products on the market in Northern Ireland from 1st January 2021. If you also place goods on the GB market you must follow the rules for the GB market.

Additional information:

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Information on: 

Other useful links: