By Benjamin Moutte, Director of Legal & Government Affairs at Rakuten France.
Rakuten France was one of the four original signers in 2018 of the European Commission’s ambitious Product Safety Pledge. The pledge is now expanding. We recently joined EU Commissioner Didier Reynders in the European Parliament in Brussels to sign newly agreed-upon Digital Consumer Rights Commitments with 11 other marketplaces. Signatories committed, among other things, to improve consumers’ access to their right of withdrawal, transparency about influencer’s commercial ties and ensuring that product reviews are genuine.
Product safety has long been a Rakuten priority. We regularly check for recalls on both the European Union’s Safety Gate and the French Consumer Protection website. We put in keywords to alert us against attempts to post dangerous products. In addition to our own internal actions, we work together with customs authorities and other retailers to keep our marketplace safe. When customs block a product, we block it. If you run across a potentially dangerous product, it is easy to contact us.
The expanded EU Pledge represents an opportunity to deepen our partnerships. Since last March, we have been running a Pilot Project with European consumer organizations, working together to spot dangerous products. We hope this Pilot can be turned into a more permanent and official component of the Pledge.
Another key challenge lies in enhancing the quality of official product safety notifications. We still receive a significant number of incomplete notices lacking batch and model numbers. It is important that we collaborate with European authorities to ensure thorough identification of products deemed dangerous.
The European Commission plays a positive role in safety efforts, fostering crucial dialogues with national regulators and consumer groups. We support this initiative. The more information on dangerous products that we receive, the more swiftly we can take action.
It is a collective responsibility for all of us to work together to ensure safety in e-commerce, acknowledging the challenges and maintaining humility in our approach.