New economic operators in e-commerce

From mid-July 2021 on, any online retailer wishing to sell radio equipment or electrical appliances to customers in Switzerland must have an intermediary located in Switzerland. Also, online marketplaces or platforms will be required to cooperate with OFCOM in relation to market surveillance.

Two new rules concerning online selling of radio equipment and electrical appliances come into force on 16 July 2021, bringing two new types of economic operator to the Swiss market.

Where foreign websites offer products for sale to Swiss customers, it sometimes happens that neither the manufacturer, distributor nor importer is based in Switzerland or even in the European Union1 or the European Economic Area2. In this case, a 'fulfilment service provider' will be liable for product conformity. Fulfilment service providers will be required to:

  • keep, for a period of 10 years, a copy of the technical documentation and Declaration of Conformity for the products they have enabled to be placed on the Swiss market;
  • affix to the product directly ‒ or, where this is not possible, state on the product packaging or in an accompanying document ‒ their name, company name or registered trademark and the postal address at which they can be contacted;
  • cooperate with OFCOM in taking any corrective measure required to eliminate risks arising from a non-compliant product which they have enabled to be placed on the Swiss market;
  • notify OFCOM of any non-compliant products which they have enabled to be placed on the Swiss market; this includes providing details of the non-conformity and the corrective measures taken.

Another new role on the Swiss market is that of 'information society service providers'. These will serve as a link to the online marketplaces or platforms, which will be required to cooperate with OFCOM in its market surveillance activities. As such, they will make it possible to withdraw any non-compliant products from the Swiss market. This measure concerns online platforms which offer a product for sale themselves or which act only as intermediaries.

These new rules will broaden the range of market surveillance tools available to OFCOM with regard to radio equipment and the electromagnetic compatibility of electrical appliances. They reaffirm the principle that all products sold online in Switzerland must comply with Swiss legislation, even if the seller is located in another country. Moreover, these provisions are equivalent to those under EU legislation on market surveillance.  They were added to the Telecommunications Installations Ordinance (FAV; SR 784.101.2) and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Ordinance (OEMC; SR 734.5) in the revised versions of 18 November 2020.

1          Under the Agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the European Community on mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment (MRA CH-EU, RS 0.946.526.81), economic operators established in the EU or in Switzerland are subject to equivalent requirements.
2 By virtue of Annex I to the EFTA Convention (RS 0.632.31), the scope of Annex I is identical to that of MRA CH-EU.
3 Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and product conformity, and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011

Specialist staff
Last modification 01.06.2021

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