8 Must watch TED talks for small business owners
Feeling a drop in motivation? TED talks never fail to fire us up. Here are some of our favourites......Read More
Retailers and manufacturers may unwittingly run serious risks due to a misunderstanding of the law. Read on to find out if product liability applies to you.
As a retailer or wholesaler importing products to sell in the UK, you may think that selling a product manufactured by someone else means you are not liable if it malfunctions and someone is injured. Wrong.
Even if you only sold a product, not made it, you can be the subject of costly claims. The design of the product, claimants may argue, is the responsibility of the manufacturer. And they’re right to some degree. But only in some cases.
The need for product liability cover is actually greater – and more widespread – than ever before.
One big shift in recent years is the tendency for products – or product components – to be manufactured abroad. If you’re a UK wholesaler, what are the chances that the products you’re selling were made from scratch in Britain?
It’s much more likely they were made, partly or entirely, in an Asian country such as China or Taiwan. It’s vital to note that these countries, being outside the European Union, are not covered by EU legislation. Therefore, the responsibility for their safety will fall on you, the retailer.
Here’s an example:
After living in India for several years, let’s imagine someone set up a business in the UK importing Indian-made clothes to sell to smaller retailers. Without their knowledge, the Indian manufacturers changed the dye they used in their fabrics. They’ve sold thousands of garments when the complaints started rolling in: the dye was causing terrible skin allergies.
In one case, the dye had not only caused a customer to cough and sneeze but had also given her an eye infection that she claimed caused her temporary blindness. The entrepreneur ends up closing her business due to the stress, and had to sell her house to cover the legal fees.
Having taken out both public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance when she set up the business, the entrepreneur thought she was fully covered. But she hadn’t realised she was responsible for the actual products she was selling, since they were manufactured by someone else.
Product liability cover might have saved this business.
The internet is helping SMEs grow and thrive more than ever before. However, it has its downsides. Thanks to social media and review sites, dissatisfied customers can find each other with ease, and may even bring collective lawsuits against companies – the kind that can put them out of business.
So-called ‘class action’ lawsuits have been filed for complaints as diverse as arsenic levels in wine and mould-growing baby seats. You might remember the high-profile 2012 case in which Toyota was sued for a manufacturing fault that caused cars to spontaneously accelerate. The price of the settlement was $1.2 billion.
Few people would argue that the Toyota case was unfair – although in the case of retailers and wholesalers, such a lawsuit could be. However, this won’t hold water with a solicitor who can profit from the laws regarding product liability!
And such lawyers are increasingly common in the UK’s ever more litigious society. Imagine someone running a medium-sized chain of garages in the north of England. Last Christmas he decided to give away key rings as free promotional gifts. When a child choked on a faulty key ring, he found himself legally responsible. Why? Because the manufacturer of the key rings was untraceable – another factor that shifts the responsibility to the retailer.
Thanks to a law firm that tracked down personal accident claims, the business was sued for what he’d believed was an innocent act of customer service.
As a retailer or wholesaler, you’re strongly advised to include product liability cover in your insurance policy in order to protect your business from laws that could leave you vulnerable.
Arron Newton- Fantastic customer …
"Arron Newton- Fantastic customer service Arron Newton has been First Class with me when it came to helping us to get a great deal on our business electricity and gas. His advice has been invaluable and his contact details are now firmly saved on our business database. I would thoroughly recommend both Switchmybusiness.com and Arron , many Thanks Dave Jackson, The Catering Butcher -Stoke"This review was posted by David Jackson on the 17th of August 2017
I spoke with Bhavni today who was very …
"I spoke with Bhavni today who was very helpful and friendly. The switch over from British Gas to Dual was so simple. I was given a template to send to British Gas to terminate the contract by email, all I had to do was fill in my account number. There really was no hassle! Thanks"This review was posted by Will Halton on the 16th of August 2017
Very good service
"Very good service. Explanations from Arron Newton were clear and thorough, making the process easy and straightforward. I would certainly recommend Arron and this company. Excellent."This review was posted by Dulik on the 16th of August 2017
Mark Weeks - Excellent Service
"Mark Weeks has helped me with selecting the most Competitive Electricity supplier for our Business needs. I would thoroughly recommend both Switchmybusiness.com and Mark Weeks, many Thanks"This review was posted by Jason Davenport on the 16th of August 2017
All good as far as I can tell
"All good as far as I can tell. 24 hours from first enquiry to signed contract and a good deal as well. Mark Weeks made it all simple and was friendly and helpful. He even got a decent rate for my mum!"This review was posted by Chris Gutsell on the 16th of August 2017