Liability for Damages Arising from Unsafe Products Act of 2008
The Liability for Damages Arising from Unsafe Products Act of 2008 deals with the issue of product liability in Thailand. The purpose of the act is to instil consumer confidence for products by simplifying the legal liability for unsafe products.
According to Section 5 of the Act, an entrepreneur is liable for damages to the damaged party from an unsafe product to the consumer. The entrepreneur is strictly liable for damages arising from the negligence of the entrepreneur.
According to Section 4 of the Act, the damage has to arise from the product and the damage has to occur to life, body, health, hygiene, mental state or assets of the consumer. This does not include damage to the unsafe product itself.
The word “product” is broadly defined and ranges from all products that are for sale including electricity and agricultural products. A product is unsafe if it causes damage, regardless of whether it was caused by negligence, during the production process, or the design process. Further, a product is considered to be unsafe when there are no guidelines for usage or storage. The entrepreneur has to warn of dangers that could arise from the product. The entrepreneur has to give correct and clear guidelines for normal usage and storage of the product.
The “entrepreneur” is also defined in Section 4 of the Act. Entrepreneur means
- the producer or a party authorizing the production
- the importer (a person that brings goods into Thailand for sale)
- the seller of product who cannot identify his producer, party authorizing the production, or importer
- a party using a name, trade name, trademark, mark, message or other means which may be understood as being the producer, party authorizing the production, or importer.
If there is more than one entrepreneur, they are jointly liable. (Section 5 of the Act)
According to Section 7, the entrepreneur is not liable if it is determined that the product was safe or if the damaged party had knowledge that the product was unsafe. There is also no liability if the damaged party disregarded the guidelines or a warning from the entrepreneur. Otherwise, there is a strict liability for the entrepreneur.
Section 8 contains regulations which describes situations where one party is not be liable. The producer shall not be held responsible, if the danger was caused by the design of the party authorizing the production. The producer of product components is not liable, if the danger is the result of a misconduct of the producer of the main product.
An entrepreneur cannot disclaim his responsibility by agreement with the consumer in advance due to Section 9.
According to Section 12, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for product liability is three years after the damaged party became aware of the damages and the responsible entrepreneur. Otherwise, the statute of limitations is 10 years after the product was sold. The prescription period ceases during the period of negotiation for compensation between the damaged party and the entrepreneur.
In Thailand, the Consumer Protection Committee and its certified associations are authorized to initiate lawsuit for compensations to damaged parties.
In summary, litigation can arise unsafe products that are placed on the market. Entrepreneurs need to provide instructions, warnings and guidelines before they place products on the market. The law only provides limited provisions to defend against strict liability claims.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Mr. Ulrich Schmitt is currently a legal intern at Siam Legal International in Bangkok. He is a graduate of the University of Trier, Germany with a state examination in German Law. He is currently in the process of completing his second state exam at the Judicial District of the Provincial High Court and Court of Appeals in Koblenz, Germany.