Madrid, 15 February 2021 – The Market Surveillance Observatory of the Spanish Association for Standardization, UNE, has published its first report, in which it analyses the market situation in relation to regulatory and legislative compliance in order to avoid the marketing of unsafe products and services that damage the economy and consumers and create unfair competition for compliant companies. The Market Surveillance Report has been developed in collaboration with more than 30 business organizations and the Ministries of Consumer Affairs, Industry, Trade and Tourism and Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation.
The most frequent type of infringement in the manufacture and marketing of products involves breaches of technical standards and conditions of sale, accounting for 53.9% of all infringements, followed by commercial transactions (7.6%), prices (7.3%), and weight fraud (0.01%). Other violations take up the remaining percentage. The data collected in the first report of the UNE Observatory corresponds to the year 2020, the most recent available, and have been provided by the consumption surveillance authorities of the Autonomous Communities. to the Directorate-General for Consumer Affairs.
In terms of products, most infringements occur in toys (10.9% of those surveyed showed some nonconformity), followed by personal safety equipment (8%), small electrical equipment (7.2%), furniture (5.8%), textiles (4%) and footwear (3.7%).
"The aim is to improve the functioning of the internal market through surveillance, to ensure that products sold comply with legislation and meet technical standards and thus contribute to increased consumer and market confidence, economic growth, business development and job creation," says Javier García, director general of UNE.
Situation in the Spanish market
The report covers all sectors of the economy, which are grouped into three main areas: products for children (toys, school supplies, accessories, leisure and sport), industrial products for domestic consumption (textiles, detergents, paints, cosmetics and furniture), and industrial products for professional use (electrical equipment, lighting, electrotechnical and building materials).
With regard to products for children, the report includes a study in which 11 counterfeits of 204 toys purchased from third parties were detected on four online marketplaces (Amazon, E-Bay, Wish and Ali-Express). Of the total, 134 toys were analysed in the laboratory, 97.4% of which did not comply with the EU's strict safety standards and 55% were unsafe and dangerous for children.
With regard to industrial household consumer products, the issues highlighted include non-compliance in the labelling of detergents and cleaning products, non-compliance with European ecodesign regulations in air conditioning equipment, and the high number of fraud cases involving imports of household appliances from Asian countries.
Lastly, in the case of industrial products for professional use, the report highlights the frequent handling of detergents by unskilled personnel and their marketing for domestic and non-industrial purposes. It also highlights irregularities in the energy labelling of refrigerants in the cooling sector, and, in relation to manufacturers of electrical equipment, it highlights that 71% of the differential switches and 77.8% of the circuit breakers analysed were non-compliant.
With regard to lighting manufacturers, the report states that 92% of the products had serious (66.7%) and very serious (25%) non-compliances. In addition, in the concrete sector, it is estimated that the economic impact of unfair competition can be estimated at approximately 20% of national production.
In relation to the safety of industrial products, from 2017 to May 2021, 1,759,992 items were submitted for control, with an approximate value of 24 billion euros.
The consumer surveillance authorities take into account several factors to determine which types of products should be analysed and at what scale: the existence of a high risk of non-compliance with the regulations; the history of non-compliance; possible changes in the regulations; consumer claims and complaints, and EU mandates.
The Market Surveillance Observatory seeks to strengthen public-private collaboration between public administrations and companies in the framework of the new European Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 on Market Surveillance and Product Conformity, and to reflect the importance of compliance with standardisation, providing credibility in the market, boosting industrial activity and providing a guarantee to consumers. This platform is aimed at public administrations, distributors (including online platforms) and consumers, and brings together under its umbrella the interests of all parties in order to enable dialogue, debate and agreement.