Product safety tips for online shopping

Published: 
7 Jan 2016

Be careful when buying online - check your purchases meet mandatory Australian requirements.

For consumers

If you buy goods from overseas:

  • They may not comply with mandatory Australian safety standards and bans that protect you and your family from injury – although this is required by law
  • They may have been recalled in Australia or another country*
  • Consumer guarantees, which are mandatory consumer rights applying when goods are sold in Australia, may be difficult to enforce if you purchase a product from an overseas supplier
  • You may not be able to obtain compensation if the goods cause an injury

The ACCC’s Product Safety Australia website can help you make a safer online purchase by giving you the information you need to determine if your purchase meets Australian standards.

To ensure the products you purchase are safe:

  1. Check the list of safety standards and bans to find out if the product is regulated. Please note that electrical consumer goods are not regulated by the ACCC but by individual states and territories. For safety information about electrical appliances and goods, please contact the Electrical Regulatory Authority Council (ERAC).
  2. Before you buy, ask the supplier if the product complies with any mandatory safety requirements.
  3. Check the goods you want to purchase have not been recalled in Australia.

Consumers who have difficulties with an international business can also contact the consumer protection agency in the country where the firm is located.

*You can now check recalls internationally following the launch of a global recalls portal, GlobalRecalls.

For suppliers

All businesses supplying goods to Australia – including online stores – must comply with mandatory safety standards and bans.

To ensure the products you plan to supply to Australia comply with mandatory product safety regulations:

  1. Check the list of safety standards and bans to find out if your product is regulated. Please note that electrical consumer goods are not regulated by the ACCC but by individual states and territories. For safety information about electrical appliances and goods, please contact the Electrical Regulatory Authority Council (ERAC).
  2. If the product is regulated, review the supplier information for your product.
  3. Check the goods you want to supply have not been recalled in Australia.

The ACCC has taken action against overseas online suppliers who have breached the law. The ACCC also works with international government agencies who may take other action requested by the ACCC.