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www.psi-network.de PSI Journal 10/2016 onsibility risks N ot too long ago, quality assurance was off ten neglected, and the risk of possible product defects was dispelled. Products were often carelessly imported from Asia, whatever the customer wanted or the market offered. The entrepreneurs’ awareness of the need for risk management has grown, not least because of the many directives adopted by the European Commission, which were transposed into national law and now have a binding character. Not only did pressure come from politics, the customer has also become more sensitive, demanding a seamless proof of conformity throughout the supply chain. If a supplier does not go along with this, he is no longer competitive. Cheap, new or particularly striking – this alone is no longer enough to score points with the customer. What are needed are safe, harmless and functional products with an acceptable durability. Distributors are often the first to be confronted with this new awareness of quality and must now put the onus on their suppliers. There is an increasing number of examples where all market par- ticipants work together together to to attain attain better products products, where projects work excellently because everyone knows that ultimately the quality of products and services determines long-term success. But there are also counter-examples where there are complaints and product defects. The distributing company is liable Whoever orders ggoods g or services always y assumes that they will be delivered or carried out as agreed. If this is not done in accordance with the agreement, this is referred to as a defect. The defect is a central concept in the law governing temporary non-performance in various types of contracts, particularly in sales contracts, tenancy law and contract law for work (see German Civil Code § 434). Primarily, the term defect refers to the actual function, ease of use or quality (serviceability or durability). The term “quality defect” includes other areas such as the legal regulations for the marketing of products and equipment (safety, electromagnetic compatibility, pollutant-free chemical substances, etc.). Customers not only expect delivery as agreed, but also that these goods comply with the legal requirements and can be easily marketed or resold. Anyone who markets consumer products in the EU, USA, China or Japan that are not legally compliant, whether intentionally or unintentionally, acts unlawfully, which means that the authorities are forced to search for the person responsible. A basic principle always applies: the distributing company is liable for damages caused to the consumer from using a product. This may be the manufacturer, importer or in certain cases the distributor. The party which the authorities can pursue locally will always be held accountable. continued on page 34 >> 33

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