Topic outline




    Sales locations and marketing

    Even if the consumer product itself is not defective, the product can be considered dangerous and in breach of the requirements of the Consumer Safety Act if false, misleading or incomplete information given about the product may make it dangerous to people or property under the expected use conditions of the product. This also applies to the information provided when marketing the product.

    Products must be safe to use for the purpose for which they can reasonably be expected to be used. The information provided on the product, including marketing material, has an affect on what kind of activities are considered expected  or intended uses of the product.  If a child uses the product in the marketing materials, the product is also expected to be used by children and must be safe for them. 

    Consumers often get the first impression of the product from its marketing materials. This first impression strongly guides the use of the product. Marketing to be considered when assessing safety covers all information and claims related to the product that are made available to the public in any form by the party responsible for the manufacture, sale or other distribution of the product. Marketing includes images of the product packaging, placement in the store, sales situation or on the website, and images, advertisements and publications made or linked to in social media channels, including videos.

    The marketing requirements of consumer safety legislation focus on the safety of the product and its use. Marketing to consumers is regulated more extensively by the Consumer Protection Act and the regulations issued under it. You can find more information on other marketing requirements on the website of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority at

    Information and marketing material which may make consumers use the product in a dangerous manner or for purposes for which it is unsafe are usually considered misleading information that may endanger the safety of consumers. 

    The most typical cases in surveillance practice of Tukes where misleading information is considered to pose a risk, are products that are marketed as having protective properties, even though they do not meet the requirements set for personal protective equipment. 

    • Example: Facial masks must not make claims that might make consumers believe that the mask will protect them against infectious diseases if the product does not comply with the requirements for PPE category III. 
    • Example: Even if reflective materials are used in a product, you must not market it as something that improves visibility if it does not meet the requirements for reflectors.
    • Example: Padded headgear was pictured on a rider’s head, even though the product did not meet the requirements for riding helmets.

    Product requirements cannot be circumvented by using product information or marketing to indicate that the product is intended for something other than for which consumers are expected to use it. 

    • Example: Decorative oil lamps have different requirements than storm lanterns. If an oil lamp in the form of a traditional storm lantern is sold under the name of a storm lantern on a shelf for decorative items, it is a very likely case of attempting to evade safety requirements if the product does not meet the requirements for decorative oil lamps. 

    The image created by the marketing material is strong, and consumers can be expected to use the product as shown in the marketing material. The business cannot be lulled into believing that marketing can display dangerous uses as long as the user instructions show the actual intended use of the product. If a product’s marketing materials contain misleading information on its use or properties which might endanger safety, you cannot fix the issue by providing user instructions and warnings with the product. 

    • Example: If the advertisement promises that a childcare product will improve safety and relieve the guardian from having to look after the child, the warning “Do not leave the child unattended when using the product” can be considered inconsistent with the marketing materials.

    However, the seller of the product is not responsible for the materials of the product someone else shares with the public without a contract or approval from its seller unless the seller has had an impact on the publication themselves or shared it. 

    “Life hack” videos on social media, in which a new intended use is invented for a product, or the intended use has been modified in an inventive way in the opinion of the publisher, are particularly popular. Products are also used in entertainment videos, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. For example, the seller is not responsible for a stunt video published on social media for entertainment purposes where the product is used dangerously or for purposes other than for which it is intended if the seller has not had an impact on the production of the video in any way. However, if the seller adds or links the stunt video to its own website or social media channel, it can be considered part of the seller’s marketing materials. The seller has a duty to know the product and the material used to market it.

    Online store and social media

    Regardless of whether consumer goods are sold in a brick-and-mortar store, an online store, on a social media channel or in any other marketplace, they must equally comply with the safety requirements for that product. 

    In the case of online purchases, the consumer must also be able to assess whether they can use the product safely before making the purchase, but the consumer must also receive the safety information with the product. For example, the tensile strength of a load binder should be indicated on the product, in the user instructions accompanying it, or on the packaging, even though the information has already been mentioned in the online store. 

    The online store and social media must not provide misleading information. Especially in social media, the seller might share user images of the product, in which case they are considered information that the seller has provided about the product.