What is a fulfilment centre?
A fulfilment centre arranges the storage, packaging, addressing, and shipping of products for companies such as online shops and importers. A fulfilment centre (in Dutch also called bestelhuisdienstverlener) does not own those products. Sometimes a fulfilment centre also processes returns.
1. Check your product safety responsibilities
Does the product come from the Netherlands or another EU country? Then you are considered a distributor according to product legislation. And must follow the product safety checklist for distributors. Your customer is responsible for product safety. You remain responsible for safe storage and possibly shipping.
Does the product come from outside the EU? Then you must meet additional requirements for product safety if:
- the product comes from outside the EU directly to your warehouse
- the manufacturer, importer, agent, or distributor does not have an establishment in the EU
- you carry out at least 2 of the following activities for your customer outside the EU: storage, packaging, addressing, shipment
- the product is on a list of 18 products for which stricter rules apply in the EU
Define your role per product
Do you store products for different customers? You may have a different role for each product. And sometimes several roles at the same time. Do you also import products, for example? Then you must also comply with the obligations of importers for those products. Use the decision tree to determine your role for each product.
2. Put your contact details on the product
Does step 1 show that you have additional product safety obligations? Then you should add your contact details to the product. Supervising authorities (toezichthouders) can then contact you if there are concerns about the safety of the product. Because you process products from outside the EU, you are the contact person for consumers and authorities. You can include your details on:
- the product, or
- the packaging, or
- the parcel, or
- a document that you enclose
The compulsory details are your:
- company name or trademark
- contact details
- (postal) address
3. Provide the right documents per product
The products you store must have certain documents. These documents state how the product complies with product safety legislation. Is this information missing? Then you may not ship the product in the Netherlands and the EU. So, ask the manufacturer for the following documents:
You must keep the declaration of conformity and the technical file of the product for 10 years. For some products, this is 20 years. It depends on the type of product.
Hire a consultant
The information on this page gives a general overview of EU product safety legislation. And applies to the European Economic Area (EU member states, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland) and in some cases also to Switzerland and Türkiye. EU countries may have additional or different requirements for certain products. For example, how long you must keep the declaration of conformity and the technical file. So, it may be wise to hire a consultant to help you with this.
4. Take immediate action if you doubt the safety of a product
Do you suspect that a product is not safe? Then you should notify the relevant authorities of each EU country where the product is sold. You can make this notification via the EU platform Safety Gate. You must also take immediate action to prevent consumers from being at risk. Or ensure that the product is modified so that it meets (complies with) the safety requirements. You do not have to do this yourself, but you must ensure that measures are taken. For example, by asking the manufacturer to make adjustments. And by checking whether the manufacturer has done so. Report to the supervising authorities what you have done to reduce the risks.
Can you not modify the product? Then a product safety authority may require you to:
- take the product off the market
- recall the product
This often costs a lot of money and can be bad for your company's image.
5. Cooperate with supervising authorities and inspectorates
If a product safety authority asks for information on the safety of a product, you must provide it. This includes:
- the EU declaration of conformity
- the technical file
- additional information and documents proving the safety of the product (such as certificates or decisions by supervising authorities)
If any information is missing, you must request it from your customer.
Provide information in understandable language
You should provide information in a language that the supervising authorities can easily understand. Do you ship products to different countries? If so, you may need to be able to provide information in several languages.