Beware of non-compliant remote controlled toys
Cars, robots, helicopters or even animals: numerous remote controlled toys are available on the Swiss market. Unfortunately, frequently their wireless remote control does not comply with the requirements. OFCOM, which is responsible for market surveillance, has taken binding measures against market players, but also wishes to make purchasers and users of such toys more aware of this.
A large number of the wireless remote controls of toys on the Swiss market do not comply with the regulations in force. Some use frequencies reserved for other applications and others transmit at excessively high levels or cause excessive interference. These faults may interfere with other radiocommunications users. Within the framework of its activities relating to the inspection of the conformity of telecommunications equipment, OFCOM has found that this equipment, essentially produced in the Asian market, is not compliant. In most cases, their sale has been banned in Switzerland.
Although it is important for manufacturers and distributors to be aware of the problem, it is also essential to inform consumers and make them more aware of the issue. By using such a toy, they in fact risk interfering with other telecommunications equipment (mobile telephony, other remote controls, Wi-Fi, wireless microphones,...). In order to be placed on the market, this equipment must conform to Swiss regulations, which are based on European Directive 99/05/EC (R&TTE).
OFCOM recommends checking the following points before acquiring a remote control toy:
- The CE or TD conformity mark must be applied to the packaging and on the remote controlled toy (possibly inside the battery compartment).
- The possibility of using this equipment in Switzerland must in principle be indicated on the packaging. If there is no such indication, it is preferable to request confirmation from the vendor.
- A declaration of conformity (copy) must accompany the toy's remote control. Otherwise, an indication must mention that this equipment is compliant with the European R&TTE Directive and give the location where this declaration can be obtained. Often, a copy of the declaration of conformity can be found in the user manual.
In the case of internet purchases, the consumer may ask the distributor to provide him or her with the necessary information.
The (!) sign affixed to equipment or its packaging means that its use is subject to conditions, e.g. the necessity to hold a licence. The restrictions may be specified in the documentation. If this is not the case, then the purchaser may obtain information from the manufacturer or the distributor before using the equipment in question.
Distributors of remote controlled toys or of telecommunications equipment in general must, in addition to the above-mentioned points, ensure that the conditions for placing the equipment on the market are met, in particular:
- On the remote control or in the battery compartment, the characterisation must be indicated by the type, the manufacturer's name and the serial number.
- The distributor must verify that the remote control can be used in Switzerland; if it cannot be, the vendor must verify with his supplier that it has been notified to OFCOM or notify OFCOM itself and verify that the ban on use accompanies the remote control and that the (!) sign is in fact present on the equipment and its packaging.
- Since the distributor must be able to provide OFCOM with the technical documentation, the distributor must ensure that it is accessible and transmissible within 10 days of a request by OFCOM. It is recommended that a copy be retained.