Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) chief executive Yvonne Orgill has welcomed new EU laws on market surveillance that could help stamp out the sale of non-compliant bathroom products.
The new Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council on market surveillance and compliance of products came into force on June 20 and was welcomed by the BMA CEO as “well overdue”.
The new regulations set out new powers where Market Surveillance Authorities (MSA) in each country will be able to take action if there is reason to suspect a product may present a risk to consumers.
The new laws include the power to “start investigations on market surveillance authorities’ own initiative in order to identify non-compliances and bring them to an end”, and also impose financial penalties on offenders.
Commenting on the move, Orgill said: “These regulations are well overdue, as up until now there has been no means for MSAs to bring companies to task over non-compliant products.
“The EU has listened to concerns from the bathroom industry and others and now provides a clear infrastructure that will promote compliance and more importantly give the necessary powers for MSAs to act when products are not compliant.”
Orgill made the point that this legislation will help to create a level playing field for those companies that do invest in producing compliant products.
She added: “The introduction of cross-border mutual assistance is also welcome. This provides a mechanism for MSAs to communicate with their counterparts in member states, which should make it easier to resolve issues across Europe.”
Talking exclusively to kbbreview last year, Orgill warned retailers that Trading Standards officers and the water utilities were closing in on retailers selling non-compliant products and urged them to review their portfolios to avoid heavy fines.
She told kbbreview: “But the danger is we’ll need to tell them again and again. It’s not an opt in/opt out. It’s the law. Retailers need to be aware that there’s a growing swell of people checking. Water utilities are doing spot checks. Within a year to two, they’ll impose high penalties – so educate yourselves. There are enough workshops hosted by brands.”
But she pointed to an upside for retailers under these tougher laws: “Offering products that are compliant is what sets them above other retailers. They don’t seem to get that they can offer something that other retailers can’t.”