Distributor Center

Distributors Face Liability

October 9, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

WASHINGTON - The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) recently reported that distributors, as well as manufacturers, could be subject to a wide variety of laws and regulations governing product liability. Bodily injury and property damage losses may arise from the product itself, the product packaging, instructions for use, labels, warnings and other on-product messages. The manufacturer, not the distributor, is usually held responsible for injury arising from a defective product because the distributor usually has no control over the design, assembly or quality of the item. Distributors, however, may be held liable for product defects under certain circumstances, including:

  • Some distributors provide installation, service or repair work as a "value-add" for their customers, which may increase their product liability exposure in the process.

  • Distributors that modify, repackage, or relabel products may assume a greater liability than those who don't. Modification of the product can include any modification of instructions or warranties.

  • Repackaging under the distributor's name may increase the exposure substantially.

  • The United States has some of the most stringent product safety standards in the world. When goods are produced overseas, they do not necessarily comply with these standards. When a distributor imports products from a foreign manufacturer who does not carry U.S. product liability coverage, they can assume the product liability exposure.

  • If the manufacturer is insolvent or otherwise unavailable (foreign manufacturers with no coverage inside the United States for example) the distributor can be held liable for any defect in the product.

  • When the distributor is directly responsible for the defective condition, i.e., if they have damaged the product while repackaging, or by making product modifications, they may be held liable.

  • If a distributor had knowledge of the defective condition prior to the sale and did nothing, they can be held accountable.

  • If a distributor recommended an unsuitable product for the job, they may be liable.

    A significant number of federal and state laws and regulations impact product liability, and it is important to be familiar with them. For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov.

    Publication date: 10/09/2006

  • Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

    You must login or register in order to post a comment.

    Multimedia

    Videos

    Image Galleries

    2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

    Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.

    Podcasts

    NEWSMakers: Mark Satterfield

    Mark Satterfield, founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing Inc. and author of “The One Week Marketing Plan” talks about his book and the importance of HVAC blogging. Posted on Sept. 19.

    More Podcasts

    ACHRNEWS

    NEWS 09-15-14 cover

    2014 September 15

    Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

    Table Of Contents Subscribe

    Venting R-22

    The NEWS reported that a man received prison time for venting R-22. Should EPA step up enforcement?
    View Results Poll Archive

    HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

    plumbing-hvac.gif
    2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

    Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

    More Products

    Clear Seas Research

     

    Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

    DON'T MISS A THING

    Magazine image
     
    Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

    STAY CONNECTED

    facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con