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Product recalls

General requirements

Are there any statutory criteria under which a product must be recalled or other corrective action be taken?

The Law on the Preparation and Application of Technical Legislation for Products (4703) provides that even if there is documentary evidence that a product complies with the relevant technical requirements, the competent authority will temporarily suspend the launch of the product until a control has been carried out if there are unequivocal signs that the product is unsafe. Where the control determines that the product is unsafe, the competent authority can, at the expense of the producer:

  • prohibit the supply of the product to the market;
  • withdraw the product from the market; or
  • dispose of the product partially or completely, depending on the risk, when it is impossible to make the product safe.

Notification

What rules and procedures govern notification of the product recall to government authorities and the public?

The competent authority must ensure the effective communication of any measures concerning product safety, including:

  • disposals;
  • prohibitions;
  • seizures; and
  • information concerning risks to consumers.

Thus, where the communication from the manufacturer is found inadequate, the government will publish the relevant information in two national newspapers and broadcast it on two national television channels. Where the population at risk is in a specific area, the communication can be made through local newspapers and television channels. Where the persons at risk can be identified individually, they can be informed directly.

Repairs, replacements and refunds

What rules and procedures govern repairs, replacements and refunds for defective products?

The Code of Obligations (6098) and the Law on Consumers’ Protection (6502) provide the rights for consumers to request (depending on the degree of defect):

  • full refund;
  • partial refund proportional to the defect;
  • free repair;
  • replacement of the product with defect-free fungible; or
  • indemnification under general provisions.

Non-compliance

What penalties apply for non-compliance with the legal provisions governing product recalls?

Where a product’s defect constitutes a crime against public health under Article 185 onwards of the Criminal Code and the product has not been withdrawn from the market following an administrative order to do so, the producer, seller or importer is liable to imprisonment and fines under Articles 85 and 89 of the Criminal Code if the product endangers human life and causes death or injury.

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