The German Electrical Devices Act: what are the rules?
- ElektroG2 (the Second Electrical Devices Act): What is it?
- Electrical and electronic devices under the German Electrical Devices Act
- The Electrical Devices Act: passive devices
- Under §9 of the Electrical Devices Act: Labelling obligations (WEEE labelling)
- WEEE labelling as per the Electrical Devices Act
- WEEE labelling abroad
- Dealers and the Electrical Devices Act: the obligation to accept returns of used electrical devices
- Products distinguished by the Electrical Devices Act: B2B (commercial devices) and B2C (household devices)
- How can manufacturers ensure the obligations of the Electrical Devices Act are fulfilled as simply as possible?
The German Electrical Devices Act (ElektroG) controls the marketing, disposal and recycling of electrical and electronic devices. Among other things, it regulates which devices need registration and labelling (e.g. with the generally recognised symbol of a crossed-out waste bin). But what does the German Electrical Devices Act consider to be an electrical device? In plain terms, an electrical device is one which requires electrical current or an electromagnetic field for its ordinary operations.
The German Electrical Devices Act – § 9, labelling obligations (WEEE labelling)
Under § 9 of the German Electrical Devices Act, distributors must apply special labelling to the devices they bring to market. In the common parlance, the labels required are also known as “WEEE labels” after the European WEEE Directive on which the Electrical Devices Act is based.
The German Electrical Devices Act: B2B and B2C customers
The German Electrical Devices Act differentiates between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) devices. Accordingly, the following applies: B2B devices are electrical and electronic equipment expressly not intended for domestic use or which should not rightly be used in private households. The distributor must give credible proof of this when making the application for registration.
If this is not considered credible, the devices must be considered B2C equipment under the German Electrical Devices Act. Unlike B2B devices, B2C devices are those that can be used in private households, say, in apartments or gardens. Thus, it is not the distribution channel that defines whether the Act considers a device B2B or B2C, but the final place of use.
The German Electrical Devices Act in summary
The obligations as defined by the German Electrical Devices Act apply to all those who commercially:
- manufacture products under their own brand name and first bring them to market in Germany.
- sell on electrical and electronic devices from other providers as part of their own product and/or under their own brand name in Germany.
- import electrical devices to Germany and bring them to market there.
What are the consequences of failing to obtain a licence under the German Electrical Devices Act?
Violations of the registration and return obligations under the German Electrical Devices Act are a civil offence that can be punished by a six-figure fine. Obligated parties registering with the Stiftung EAR receive an eight-figure WEEE number to be used in daily business transactions similarly to a VAT ID number. In addition, all companies subject to obligations are listed in a public register. Thus, the transparency for third parties and consequent risk are all the greater. Incorrect registration or failure to register is considered a civil offence under the German Electrical Devices Act and is also classified as a cautionable anti-competitive violation. This has the desirable effect of ensuring the market self-regulates.
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