Strengthening Consumer Protection

Strengthening Consumer Protection: Measures to adapt the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection to guard against counterfeiting and piracy

BASCAP released a paper ‘Strengthening Consumer Protection’ in December 2016 calling special attention to consumer threats posed by counterfeits and the increasing risks presented by consumer engagement in e-commerce.

In December 2015, the United Nations adopted the revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. First adopted in April 1985, this was the first comprehensive revision of the Guidelines in more than thirty years.

The Guidelines embody a renewed mandate to prioritize and strengthen consumer protection regimes, and include reference to the emerging consumer risks associated with counterfeiting and growth in electronic commerce.

The BASCAP paper ‘Strengthening Consumer Protection: Measures to adapt the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection to guard against counterfeiting and piracy’ addresses the new challenges and additional responsibilities to governments and businesses to adequately protect consumers from potentially hazardous counterfeit goods. The paper highlights the scale of the problem of counterfeits including its proliferation in e-commerce, and assesses the health and safety risks to presented by these products.

Suggested best practices

The paper contains key provisions from the UN Guidelines that are grouped into three categories for special attention by UN Member States and consumer protection agencies to systematically protect consumers from the dangers related to counterfeit and pirated products. For each of the provisions, BASCAP has explained the related risks to consumer health and safety associated with counterfeit and pirated products; and provides suggested best practices for consideration by national governments and consumer protection agencies.