Freight News, Logistics

Forwarders ‘may be liable for dodgy goods’

[ December 18, 2014   //   ]

Freight forwarders carrying out ‘pick and pack’ operations could be at risk if they distribute products for non-EU manufacturers that subsequently are found to have safety issues, warns BIFA in its latest newsletter and quoting a press release by Pysdens Solicitors.

Trading Standards Authorities could pursue a UK forwarder if they wer the only party within the EU handling the goods, it says.

The issue has come to the fore with the upsurge in online shopping, with forwarders increasingly involved in picking, packing and direct delivery of foreign-made goods to consumers and end users, which could mean that they are caught by Product Safety Legislation. Under these circumstances, the forwarder could be regarded as a importer because it is bringing the goods into the country – even though their activity has now bearing on the safety of the product. UK Trading Standards authorities have wide powers to pursue any ‘economic operator’ for failing to protect consumers, Pysdens points out. And if the only party in the UK who can be so pursued is a forwarder, they will do so, they warn.

Forwarders should beware especially if customers ask them to help with actions such as drawing up certificates of conformity. Also, as the effective importer, they could be oblifged to check that goods comply with EU safety standards.

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