Online marketplaces, third-party sellers and the safety pledge for consumer products and cosmetics

Learn about online marketplaces and third-party sellers. Find out about Canada's safety pledge to protect consumers when shopping from online marketplaces.

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About online marketplaces and third-party sellers

More and more consumers in Canada are shopping from online marketplaces for the convenience, greater product variety and choice of seller. It's important to make sure you know who you're buying from.

Online marketplaces

An online marketplace is an e-commerce store that lists and sells products from third-party sellers and may also sell its own products. Some online marketplaces have offices in Canada and some are located only abroad.

Note that not all e-commerce stores list products sold by third-party sellers. Some e-commerce stores only list products that they sell directly to consumers.

Online marketplaces have retail policies (such as for returns, exchanges or complaints) for the products they sell directly to consumers. These policies may not apply to the products that third-party sellers sell through the online marketplace.

Third-party sellers

Third-party sellers are independent sellers. They can be located anywhere in the world. These sellers use online marketplaces to list and sell their products to consumers. They may ship their products directly or the online marketplace may store and ship the products on behalf of the third-party seller.

If you buy a product that's sold and shipped by a third-party seller, you may be subject to the seller's policies, not those of the online marketplace.

How to identify who is selling a product

You can find out who is selling a product by checking the "Sold by" information in the product description. When buying from an online marketplace, some of the options you might see are:

Also look for sections on the store's website labelled "marketplace" or that have a list of "partners".

If you're still not sure who is selling the product, you can contact the online marketplace to ask.

If you have issues with a product that has been sold by a third-party seller, contact the seller directly. If you are not able to contact the seller, you might reach out to the online marketplace for help. Check the online marketplace's retail policies to learn more. 

Also check whether you're buying from a seller in Canada. Products shipped from outside of Canada may not meet Canadian safety requirements.

Learn more:

Canadian product safety pledge

Health Canada launched the Canadian Product Safety Pledge on September 28, 2023.

We created the pledge because more and more people in Canada are buying consumer products and cosmetics online. We want to help improve the safety of these products sold through online marketplaces.

Certain online marketplaces have signed onto the pledge voluntarily.

This means that they have agreed to 14 voluntary commitments. They're committed to:

They have agreed to work with Health Canada and help:

They will report annually to Health Canada on what they have accomplished.

The current signatories to the pledge are:

Online marketplaces have a role to play in selling consumer products and cosmetics that don't pose a health and safety risk to people in Canada.

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