Gotelee Solicitors has created an entirely first-to-market, innovative app to assist e-commerce distributors in dealing with the knock-on effects of new HMRC legislation (which introduces a regulatory system called the Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme (FHDDS)).
The FHDDS requires those who wish to provide fulfilment services for non-EU customers from April 2019 onwards to apply to register with HMRC. This will include ‘pure’ Fulfilment Houses and those who carry out fulfilment as a part of their warehousing business.
Trading Standards will have access to HMRC’s list of Fulfilment House applicants. In contrast to HMRC, Trading Standards’ interest will be purely focused on product safety compliance. They will want to know what steps are being taken to ensure that unsafe goods don’t leave the premises. Trading Standards officers are expected to scrutinise those who apply to register for the FHDDS and will be visiting them.
The Gotelee Guardian app takes those involved in e-commerce distribution through a simple series of defined steps to check product safety compliance of the goods they are handling.
The app is a vital tool in assisting Fulfilment Houses and warehouse operators, to meet their product safety obligations, enabling them to satisfy themselves that products leaving their premises comply with product safety requirements and helping them to:
The app begins by asking warehouse operatives whether the product belongs to a subgroup of power tools/machinery, toys, cosmetics, or electrical product. These are high risk categories which are of particular interest to Trading Standards.
From there, questions are tailored to the specific subgroup, for example for an electrical product the app will ask ‘does the item have a CE mark?’, ‘Is there a plug?’, ‘Does the plug have three pins?’. A photo of the product can be taken and added to the answers at any stage in the process.
Having completed all of the questions, which should take no more than a few minutes, an immediate product safety report is generated on screen confirming whether the product has passed or failed.
Should a product fail, the app user will be instructed to place the product into quarantine. Either way, the report is then emailed to a designated email address (most likely that of the compliance manager, pre-set by the user when the app is first downloaded) containing all vital details of the consignment and the checking process, including any photos taken. This provides the business with a dated and timed audit trail for their own records demonstrating that a reasonable due diligence check has been undertaken.
If a non-compliance is identified, this is highlighted in red in the report. The report contains a link to an FAQs page to assist the compliance manager in deciding upon the further action to be taken. The compliance manager can also email the report to the customer so that any identified problem is clear to all.
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