Obligations of businesses
In addition to product requirements, there are statutory obligations for economic operators, i.e. the manufacturer, authorised representative, importer, distribution service provider and distributor of the gas appliance.
- Manufacturer refers to a business that manufactures a gas appliance, or has it manufactured, and markets it under its name or trademark. The manufacturer of the gas appliance is responsible for ensuring that it is safe and compliant. The manufacturer must carry out all the conformity assessment procedures relating to the gas appliance, draw up the required documents and affix the necessary markings to it. The manufacturer’s obligations are listed in Article 7 of the Gas Appliances Regulation.
- Authorised representative refers to a business established within the EU that has received a written mandate from the manufacturer to act on their behalf in relation to specified tasks. The authorised representative’s obligations are listed in Article 8 of the Gas Appliances Regulation.
- Importer refers to a business established within the EU that places an appliance imported from a third country on the EU market. The importer must ensure that the manufacturer has fulfilled their obligations regarding the assessment of the gas appliance’s conformity, drawn up the required documentation, and affixed the necessary markings. The importer is responsible for ensuring that the gas appliances comply with the European requirements and any specific national requirements. The importer’s obligations are listed in Article 9 of the Gas Appliances Regulation.
- Distributor refers to a business in the supply chain other than the manufacturer or the importer who makes a product available on the EU market. In other words, distributor refers to a business that sells a gas appliance manufactured in the EU or that has previously been placed on the EU market. Distributors include retailers and wholesalers of gas appliances. The distributor must check that the gas appliance bears the required markings, and that the required documents, instructions and safety information in Finnish and Swedish have been included with the device. The distributor’s obligations are listed in Article 10 of the Gas Appliances Regulation.
According to EU legislation, an economic operator importing gas appliances to Finland can be either an importer (importing an appliance from a third country) or a distributor (importing an appliance from the EU market). You can find more information on the obligations of economic operators on the Tukes website.
Remote sales is a trade in which the buyer and the seller are not simultaneously present. Online stores are typical examples of remote sales. The product’s delivery method is not relevant in remote sales. It is also considered remote sales even if the product is picked up from the store, if the actual purchase contract is made remotely. Remote sales have exceptions in comparison to normal trading. You can find more information on the rules of remote sales, such as information given in advance, on the website of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
The statutory requirements for gas appliances are the same, regardless of where they are sold. In an online store, however, adevice appliance and its packaging are not physically viewable, so the sellers of online stores must provide information relevant to the safe use of the appliance when it is sold. Adevice appliance can be considered dangerous or non-compliant on the basis of the information provided in the online store alone, if the information provided is incorrect or if the advertising is non-compliant.
You should acknowledge the following matters at least:
- The online store must provide information relevant to safety and/or purchasing decisions: Consumers must be able to determine whether they can use the gas appliance safely.
- The information provided on the product must not be misleading (for example, a radiator intended only for outdoor use should not be advertised with images in which it is used indoors)
- The information to be provided includes:
- Restrictions related to the conditions of use (e.g. for indoor or outdoor use only)
- Restrictions on use or deployment
- Restrictions related to premises (e.g. adequate ventilation)
- Only a qualified professional is allowed to install the gas appliance
- Suitable alternative energy (e.g. electric supply voltage and frequency, nominal power)
Private label refers to a product that a business markets under its name or trademark, even if the product was originally manufactured by another company. Sometimes such a business calls itself a “commissioner”, but from a legal point of view, the business is the manufacturer. As the business is the product’s manufacturer, it is subject to all the manufacturer’s responsibilities. The business cannot delegate responsibility for the conformity of the product. Instead, it must be familiar with the product’s characteristics and manufacturing process, as well as own the documentation that demonstrates the conformity of the product.
The importer or distributor is considered to be the manufacturer when
- the gas appliance is placed on the market under its own name or trademark
- a gas appliance that has already been placed on the market is altered in a manner that may affect the compliance with the applicable requirements.
All economic operators, manufacturers, importers and sellers are responsible for the conformity of the gas appliance. Placing appliances on the market does not require inspection or approval by the surveillance authorities. However, a market surveillance authority may assess the conformity of the appliance placed on the market by for example testing it or requesting the businesses to provide it with the EU declaration of conformity, technical documentation, and other information.
If the business suspects that the gas appliance it has placed on the market is not in conformity with the requirements, it must immediately take steps to bring the appliance into conformity, withdraw it from the market, or arrange a recall when necessary. If the properties of an appliance present a risk to safety, health or the environment, the business must immediately contact the authorities of the member states in which the product has been on the market, giving details on the non-compliance and of any corrective measures taken.