4. Goods for sale are not always safe for consumption. How am I protected against faulty or dangerous goods?
There are several pieces of legislation dealing with the safety of consumers. The most common one is the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance (Cap. 456 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
Under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, all consumer goods (except those listed in the Schedule to the Ordinance) must comply with the general safety requirements or the safety standards and specifications prescribed by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour. The Ordinance imposes a statutory duty on manufacturers, importers and suppliers to ensure that the consumer goods they supply are reasonably safe. The Ordinance also imposes controls on the advertising of consumer goods.
Any person who sells unsafe goods is liable to a fine and/or imprisonment. Those unsafe goods may also be seized by the Customs and Excise Department and other authorized officers.
The Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance does not prescribe mandatory safety tests on products before they are put up for sale. Sellers or suppliers are however encouraged to have their consumer goods tested by an approved laboratory to determine whether or not they are reasonably safe.
It does not necessarily mean that goods which are not covered under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance are "uncontrollable" or are not currently controlled. These goods are most likely regulated by separate ordinances (examples can be found in section 3, section 5 and section 8 of the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, Cap. 424). You may contact the Consumer Council or consult a lawyer for further details.
The Consumer Goods Safety Regulation (Cap. 456A) came into operation in April 1998. The Regulation requires that any warning or caution with respect to the safe keeping, use, consumption or disposal of any consumer goods must be given in both the Chinese and English languages . Further, the warning or caution must be legible and placed in a conspicuous position on the consumer goods themselves, on any package containing the consumer goods, or be a label securely affixed to the package, or be a document enclosed within the package.