If your business creates, distributes or sells any kind of product, you’re probably well aware of product liability. Product liability falls under the Consumer Protection Act, so make sure you’re up to speed with your legal obligations using our Consumer Protection Act guide.
The Consumer Protection Act is the law which governs if and when someone who has been injured or whose property has suffered damage because of a defective product can make a claim against the producer of that product.
Read on for a full breakdown of the Consumer Protection Act.
Anyone who’s suffered an injury because of a defective product or whose property has been damaged because of it can make a claim against you. The crucial part here is that it’s not just people who bought the product who can make a claim, but anyone who was affected by it.
Most property damage or personal injury that’s caused by a defective product can be claimed for, but there are some types of damage that the Consumer Protection Act explicitly excludes. Those are:
According to Section 3(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, a product is defective if the safety of the product is not what you would generally expect it to be.
When a court is determining what the claimant could usually expect, they take the following factors into consideration:
The Consumer Protection Act states that claims must be brought against the “producer of the product”. This is considered to mean:
Obviously, this means that there could be a number of people or companies held liable, depending on whose name is where and whether or not the product was imported. However, anyone bringing a claim can only name a single defendant.
Pretty much anything that can be packaged and sold counts as a product for the purposes of the Consumer Protection Act.
Computer software and related information do not count as products, however, printed instructions and embedded software can form part of the consideration regarding the overall safety of a product.
Products which form part of other products do count, whether they’re raw materials, component parts or otherwise.
Buildings and land don’t count as products, but building materials such as bricks or roof tiles do.
There is a strict liability test for charges brought under the Consumer Protection Act, but you can defend against the charges if you’re able to prove one or more of the following:
Additionally, claimants cannot bring charges against you if it’s been more than three years since they became aware of the injury or damage.
Got a question about the Consumer Protection Act, or product liability? Let us know below.
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