Wholesalers—also known as distributors—play an important role in product safety. Because many different products pass through the hands of wholesalers before they are sold by retailers, wholesalers have the opportunity to stop unsafe products from reaching shops and online stores.
Many products need testing to check that they are safe. As a wholesaler you must ensure that the manufacturer or importer has done any required tests before supplying the products.
Check the section on mandatory standards to see whether products you intend to sell require testing. If so, ask your supplier for proof of independent testing and certification as well as test reports. You may also need to get copies of relevant standards and other documents to check this.
It is illegal to make claims about a product that exaggerate or misrepresent what it is designed to do, so consider all of a product’s key safety aspects before advertising or marketing it to retailers.
Advertisements, catalogues and displays
Make sure that any statements about a product, photos or displays of it show the product exactly as it is when a customer buys it. If a product comes with mandatory safety features or labelling, it may be illegal not to show these.
Marketing and sales
Don’t overstate what a product is capable of even though it might be tempting to do this when trying to sell it. This can have safety consequences as well as legal ones. Make sure your sales staff members know to avoid this.
Wholesalers often deal in many different types of products. Stock control can be a challenge, especially for large volumes of low value items. Even so, as a wholesaler you have a vital responsibility to supply safe products to the Australian public. To do this, it is essential that you have a risk management process in place.
Australian/New Zealand Standard 4360:2004 ‘Risk management’ provides general advice on managing risk. Suppliers should apply this standard to all stages in the life of a product, asset, project, activity or function. You usually get the most benefit when you apply the risk management process right from the start.