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Product Liability - Rebranding items with my business name

Discussion in 'Starting a business' started by BrisbaneKayaks, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. BrisbaneKayaks

    BrisbaneKayaks New Member

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    I'm looking to import and local source products to sell online. I was calling a few insurance brokers about insurance in the event somebody decided to sue me for a faulty product that, for example a dry bag that had a faulty seal and ruined a mobile phone. (A dry bag is a waterproof bag and folded/closed in such a way to protect belongings).

    An insurance broker advised me any products that were imported meant that I was liable for any litigation. That's fair enough I suppose. The broker then mentioned any products sourced within Australia meant the supplier/manufacturer was liable.

    Now, some of the items sourced locally are supplied in clear poly-bags. No branding, or anything to indicate the manufacturer/supplier; ie OEM.

    Now say I wanted to brand the items with my business logo/name; would I be liable for any litigation? How about if the items came in bags with another company's branding, and I removed it and rebranded it to have my details on it? How would that sit if someone decided to sue me?

    I'm just super super super cautious. I think that's what holds me back a lot in moving forward with this venture. All I will be selling are kayak and travelling/camping accessories.

    Any help appreciated :)
  2. victorng

    victorng Well-Known Member

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    No, that's not right.

    If you sell consumer goods you'll always be liable to the consumer. You can't escape liability by simply selling overseas manufactured goods or goods with someone else's branding on it.

    If the manufacturer is at fault then you'll have rights against the manufacturer but that doesn't affect your obligations to consumers or their rights against you.

    The ACCC website has some fairly straightforward information about the new consumer guarantees, etc.

  3. flower-child

    flower-child Active Member

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    and in regards to insurance, if you import anything, you are classed as the manufacturer (for insurance purposes).
  4. Anon

    Anon Member

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    Just following on from this... so to confirm:

    If i (for example) resell a branded skin care product through my website, say something common like a 'Dove Moisturizer' which a customer has a reaction with and causes burning to her face. Am I liable for damages if she decides to sue or is it Dove who she would need to sue considering that's the manufacturer and I am just a retailer?
  5. Infuse Tea

    Infuse Tea New Member

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    I am not an insurance broker or lawyer so please speak to someone who is. However my understanding is the complaint will first come to you if you sold the product. If it was say a 'Dove' product then my understanding is your insurance company would then take the complaint to the manufacturer on your behalf. You need to have insurance for product liability but if the fault is not yours but the manufacturers then ultimately the liability is theirs.

    Can I suggest finding a local insurance broker in your area. I met with one from WFI insurance today and she took the time to talk about my business face to face and discuss exactly these issues. I found with my business trying to get over the phone insurance was difficult and noone wanted to actually insure me for what I needed, they just wanted to give me a general broad business insurance.

    However I am not sure if it is the same for products you are importing.

    I hope you find this helpful and good luck with your business.

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