Products and related services -- Information for consumers

ISO/IEC Guide 14:2018 provides guidance on the provision of information concerning products and their related services intended for consumers. It outlines general principles and recommendations for content, methods, formats and designs enabling consumers to compare and choose consumer products and their related services prior to purchase.

Produits et services connexes -- Informations pour les consommateurs

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Status
Published
Publication Date
27-Mar-2018
Current Stage
6060 - International Standard published
Start Date
07-Mar-2018
Completion Date
28-Mar-2018
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GUIDE 14
Third edition
2018-03
Products and related services —
Information for consumers
Produits et services connexes — Informations pour les
consommateurs
Reference number
ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
ISO/IEC 2018
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO/IEC 2018

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
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Email: copyright@iso.org
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Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO/IEC 2018 – All rights reserved
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

4 Purchase information ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

4.1 Objective of purchase information......................................................................................................................................... 4

4.2 General principles ................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

4.3 Minimum content and presentation ..................................................................................................................................... 6

4.4 Performance and conditions of use ....................................................................................................................................... 7

4.5 Dependability considerations .................................................................................................................................................... 7

4.6 Second-hand goods ............................................................................................................................................................................. 7

5 Methods of conveying information .................................................................................................................................................... 8

5.1 Written and printed information ............................................................................................................................................ 8

5.2 Online information .............................................................................................................................................................................. 8

5.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 8

5.2.2 Short description and guidance on linear bar codes, quick response codes

and other machine-readable information .................................................................................................. 9

5.3 Verbal information ............................................................................................................................................................................10

6 Formats and design principles............................................................................................................................................................10

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................10

6.2 Principles ..................................................................................................................................................................................................10

6.3 Use of diagrams, symbols and pictograms, scales and tables ......................................................................11

6.4 Legibility and uniformity ............................................................................................................................................................11

6.5 Permanency ............................................................................................................................................................................................12

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................13

© ISO/IEC 2018 – All rights reserved iii
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (the International Electrotechnical

Commission) are worldwide federations of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies and IEC

National Committees). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out through

ISO and IEC technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO or IEC, also take part in the

work. ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters

of electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject

of patent rights. ISO and IEC shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent

rights. Details of any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the

Introduction and/or on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation on the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) see the following

URL: www .iso .org/ iso/ foreword .html.
This document was prepared by the ISO Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO).

This third edition cancels and replaces the second edition (ISO/IEC Guide 14:2003), which has been

technically revised.
The main changes compared with the previous edition are as follows:

— mention of new purchase information labelling tools (e.g. QR codes or RFID tags), available on the

packaging of the product;

— clarification of the relationship with ISO/IEC Guide 37, ISO/IEC Guide 41 and IEC 82079-1;

— consideration of the product information needs of vulnerable persons;
— content added on recycling and second-hand goods;
— improved treatment of risk, sustainability and privacy issues;

— addition of new clauses on performance and conditions of use and dependability considerations;

— deletion of obsolete content on purchase information bodies and purchase information systems.

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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
Introduction

Product information for consumers is a vital part of any consumer product or service. Improving the

quality of information increases the ability of consumers to make an informed purchasing choice. It

helps to minimize the risk of incorrect or inappropriate purchases or contracts. Consumer uncertainties

are reduced and consumer satisfaction is increased. Those who supply a high standard of product

information, taking into consideration the needs of vulnerable consumers, enhance their commercial

reputation and save time and money, by reducing enquiries, complaints and returns.

This document addresses the following:
— committees preparing standards for consumer products and related services;

— consumer product designers, manufacturers, technical writers, marketers, graphic artists or others

engaged in the work of drafting such information;
— other bodies such as enforcement agencies or consumer ombudsmen.

The primary purpose of this document is to provide guidance to those responsible for drafting national

or international standards on what information prospective purchasers require and expect for

products and their related services. However, it can also assist those who write purchase information

(e.g. suppliers), as well as enforcement authorities.

Aspects of product information can vary in various jurisdictions and/or industry standards or

technical specifications. Suppliers can establish, implement and maintain a procedure to identify the

applicable laws and regulations of the countries where the consumer products and related services are

manufactured, imported, distributed and sold, in order to ensure that applicable legal requirements are

taken into account.

A number of methods can be used (individually or in combination) to provide information to consumers

about products and related services, in order to accommodate varying levels of ability:

— written or printed;
— online;
— verbal.

Online information is increasingly used by consumers for pre-purchase research and decision-making.

There is considerable scope for further standardization in the field of product information in terms of

individual consumer products and related services, and even more so for groups of consumer products

and related services.
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GUIDE ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
Products and related services — Information for
consumers
1 Scope

This document provides guidance on the provision of information concerning products and their

related services intended for consumers. It outlines general principles and recommendations for

content, methods, formats and designs enabling consumers to compare and choose consumer products

and their related services prior to purchase.
2 Normative references
There are no normative references in this document.
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
complaint

expression of dissatisfaction made to an organization, related to its product

or service, or the complaints-handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or

implicitly expected

Note 1 to entry: ISO 10002 provides information on complaints handling in organizations.

[SOURCE: ISO 9000:2015, 3.9.3, modified — Note 1 to entry has been added.]
3.2
consumer

individual member of the general public purchasing or using property, products or services for private

purposes

Note 1 to entry: The term “consumer” covers both customers and potential customers. Consumer products (3.3)

and services can be one-time purchases or long-term contracts or obligations.
[SOURCE: ISO 26000:2010, 2.2, modified — Note 1 to entry has been added.]
3.3
consumer product

product designed and produced primarily for, but not limited to, personal use, including its components,

parts, accessories, instructions and packaging
[SOURCE: ISO 10377:2013, 2.2]
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
3.4
consumer redress

compensation for economic harm (3.7), whether in the form of a monetary payment (restitution,

damages, or other form of relief) or a conduct remedy with a restorative element (exchange of a good

or service, specific performance or rescission of a contract)[SOURCE: OECD Recommendation on

[35]
Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress , modified.]
3.5
cooling-off period

period of time following a purchase during which a consumer (3.2) can change his or her mind and

return the purchase
3.6
guarantee
warranty

written assurance issued to the purchaser of a product or related service by its supplier (3.19), promising

to repair, refund or replace the product or related service within a specified period of time, if it is not of

a specified quality
3.7
harm

injury or damage to the health of people or damage to property or the environment

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.1]
3.8
hazard
potential source of harm (3.7)
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.2]
3.9
instructions for use

information provided by the supplier (3.19) of a product to the user, containing all the necessary

provisions to convey the actions to be performed for the safe and efficient use of the product

3.10
label

item, attached to a consumer product (3.3) (if practicable) or its packaging which displays information

related to one or more characteristic(s) of the consumer product
3.11
life cycle

consecutive and interlinked stages of a product (or service) system, from raw material acquisition or

generation from natural resources to final disposal

Note 1 to entry: The life cycle stages include acquisition of raw materials, design, production,

transportation/delivery, use, end-of- life treatment and final disposal.

[SOURCE: ISO 14044:2006, 3.1, modified ― The words “(or service)” have been added to the definition;

Note 1 to entry has been added.]
3.12
marking

symbols, pictograms, warnings, logos, or inscriptions on the consumer product (3.3), label (3.10) or

packaging to identify its type, which can also include short textual messages
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
3.13
purchase information

information that describes the physical or functional aspects of a product which is given to a consumer

prior to the purchase of a product to allow informed choice

EXAMPLE Function; price; physical characteristics; warnings; safety aspects; expected life; storage; safe

disposal; sustainability; unique features; service information.
3.14
residual risk
risk (3.15) remaining after risk reduction measures (3.16) have been implemented
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.8]
3.15
risk

combination of the probability of occurrence of harm (3.7) and the severity of that harm

Note 1 to entry: The probability of occurrence includes the exposure to a hazardous situation, the occurrence of a

hazardous event and the possibility to avoid or limit the harm.
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.9]
3.16
risk reduction measure
protective measure
action or means to eliminate hazards (3.8) or reduce risks (3.15)

EXAMPLE Inherently safe design; protective devices; personal protective equipment; information for use

and installation; organization of work; training; application of equipment; supervision.

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.13]
3.17
safety data sheet

document that provides information on the properties of hazardous chemicals, how they affect health

and safety in the workplace and how to manage the hazardous chemicals in the workplace

[SOURCE: ISO/TR 13329:2012, 3.29]
3.18
second-hand goods

goods or components/parts that have been in service (leased, loaned or owned) and that are re-entering

a market for sale, lease or use by a second or later end user

Note 1 to entry: For the purposes of this document, products that are rebuilt, refurbished or remanufactured

[34]

within the context of the WTO concept paper are not considered to be second-hand goods.

Note 2 to entry: Second-hand goods do not include those goods that are sold for the first time but can have

deficiencies or imperfections which can also be referred to as “seconds”.
[SOURCE: ISO 20245:2017, 3.7, modified — Note 2 to entry has been added.]
3.19
supplier

organization or person that supplies a consumer product (3.3) or provides a service

EXAMPLE Designer, producer/manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer of a product or service.

Note 1 to entry: In a contractual situation, a supplier is sometimes called “contractor/vendor”.

[SOURCE: ISO 10377:2013, 2.24, modified — The words “that provides a service” have been replaced by

“that supplies a consumer product or provides a service” in the definition; the words “or service” have

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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)

been added in the Example; the original Note 1 to entry has been deleted; the term “contractor” has

been replaced by “contractor/vendor” in the Note to entry.]
3.20
vulnerable consumer

consumer who, either temporarily or permanently, is at greater risk (3.15) of harm (3.7) from products

or systems, due to age, level of literacy, physical or mental condition or limitations, or inability to access

product safety information
Note 1 to entry: ISO/IEC Guide 51 provides information about risk.

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC Guide 51:2014, 3.16, modified — The words “who, either temporarily or permanently,

is” have been added; Note to entry has been added.]
4 Purchase information
4.1 Objective of purchase information

The overall objective of purchase information is to provide information to consumers that will enable

them to make informed decisions when purchasing a new or used consumer product, including

assurance that adequate details are provided on using, assembling, installing, maintaining, storing and

disposing of the product in a safe manner.

NOTE 1 ISO 20245 provides in-depth information about cross-border trade in second-hand goods.

NOTE 2 ISO/IEC Guide 37 and IEC 82079-1 provide information about instructions for use.

NOTE 3 ISO/IEC Guide 41 provides information on consumer needs in packaging.
NOTE 4 ISO/IEC Guide 50 provides information on child safety in standards.
NOTE 5 ISO/IEC Guide 51 provides information on safety aspects in standards.
NOTE 6 ISO/IEC Guide 76 provides information on consumer needs in services.
4.2 General principles

This clause provides a description of principles for conveying information to consumers (by written,

printed or verbal means, or using online content) when they are considering whether or not to acquire

a new or used product or service. In addition, it describes general considerations that apply to all. The

principles are listed in Table 1, under the following categories:
— use of language;
— presentation of information;
— business practice.

NOTE Purchasing includes buying products and related services, leasing products and related services, or

obtaining products or services distributed with no financial transaction.
Table 1 — Principles for consumer information by category
Category Principle

Use clear, simple, unambiguous, relevant, complete language that is intelligible in the country of

sale/access.
Use of lan-
guage

Give the consumer information in the official language(s) of the region where the product is

distributed.
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
Table 1 (continued)

Avoid misleading or deceptive information that can create an erroneous impression of the product.

Make information transparent and pertinent; avoid unnecessary detail which can distract the

consumer from making an informed purchasing decision.
Restrict the use of technical terminology to an absolute minimum.
Promotional material should not contradict the principles in this document.
Format should facilitate access to information.
Presentation

Information should provide traceability, e.g. the most common supply chain practice of a barcode

of information

with an embedded globally unique number, or a combination of serial number, batch or lot number,

expiry date and production date.

The consumer product identification should remain on the traceable item or attached to it until

the traceable item is consumed, returned, destroyed or properly disposed of.

Include information on assembly, installation, intended and safe use, intended age of user, mainte-

nance, storage, life span and disposal of a consumer product needed to make a purchasing decision.

This information is becoming crucial in the context of the blurring of public/private spheres of

use and the Internet of Things.

Specify conditions for entering or cancelling a contract, including cooling-off periods. This is

particularly important if a consumer seeks redress or if contract cancellations entail additional

costs and/or financial loss.

Avoid preparing, adopting or applying material with a view to, or with the effect of, creating

unnecessary obstacles to international trade.

As privacy is a sensitive matter, convey how you are collecting information about the consumer.

Consumers have the right to know why their data are being collected and how they will be used.

Provide information to the consumer related to health risks and hazards in usage, storage and

Business
disposal of products.
practice

Give consumers the total price of a product, including any additional costs (e.g. periodic fees,

service costs, subscriptions, connection costs and taxes). Price remains the main factor when

making purchases. Consumers need to know the total price, as principal/basic information. They

can feel cheated if they are drawn to a lower price of a product and services only to find out that

the price is higher when they request more information. ISO 10008 provides related guidance in

the online environment.

Consider all relevant aspects of the life cycle of the consumer product or service, including sus-

tainability aspects.

There are different types of information channels available for use. Depending on the product

characteristics, product information can be on the consumer product itself, on packaging, in

accompanying material, a database accessed from packaging to the internet, a toll-free call-in number,

or in any combination of these forms.

For the purpose of comparison, where it exists, the provision of information should be based on

standardized terms, validated data, normative documents or other commonly accepted agreements or

practices.

Whenever information of a technical nature relating to the characteristics of a consumer product is made

known to the public, the definition of these characteristics and the method of verifying the information

should be based as far as possible on International Standards. If such standards are not available,

national standards should be used. Conformity to the relevant standard(s) should be presented in a way

that allows the consumer to identify which characteristics of the consumer product or service conform

to the standard(s). The process of selecting and grouping together consumer-relevant characteristics

and the underlying criteria can best be undertaken by a standards committee or another private body

representing all interested parties.
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)
4.3 Minimum content and presentation

The degree of interest shown by potential purchasers will vary, and it can on occasion be useful to

provide the information on two levels:

— the first level of information is intended for those seeking a minimum amount of data on the key

characteristics of the consumer product or service;

— the second level is for those wishing to know more details, e.g. concerning technical matters such

as minimum contents (covered by first level), specific function, or limitations of the service or

consumer product.

For consumers who require more information about a particular consumer product or service before

making a decision to purchase or enter into a contract, the means to obtain that information should

be made clear. Consumers should have access to relevant types of information which can aid them in

making informed decisions about the purchase and maintenance of the product.

If practical, an accurate picture of the consumer product is helpful for the consumer to make an

informed choice. It should include the following:

a) identification of the consumer product or service including its characteristics, contents and

materials (e.g. chemicals) and limitations for use;

b) country or countries where the consumer product was manufactured or assembled;

c) name and full address of the manufacturer or supplier;

d) essential performance characteristics, conditions and any limitations for use (see 4.4);

e) instructions for use, storage and maintenance;
e) information about spare or replacement parts and how to obtain them;

f) information about additional parts that are available for certain environments (e.g. guard devices);

g) safety concerns, including known risks and hazards, and residual risks;
h) guarantees/warranties;
i) complaints-handling procedure(s);
j) need for special (professional) installation;
k) consumption of resources (e.g. energy required for use);

l) expected duration of the life of the product (e.g. product testing, clinical trials);

m) privacy implications of using the product;

n) environmental issues and potentially negative impacts associated with the development, use,

storage or disposition of the product, or any of its component parts (including recycling);

o) a way to contact the supplier, e.g. mailing address, website and/or toll-free number;

p) information regarding the dependability and/or reliability of the product, especially in comparison

to similar products to give the consumer confidence in their choice (see 4.5).

The location, nature and content of the available purchase information should be clearly referred to on

the first page of any document related to the consumer product or service. If relevant, a picture of the

consumer product should be available. An accurate picture of the consumer product is helpful for the

consumer to make an informed choice.
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ISO/IEC GUIDE 14:2018(E)

It is important to pay attention, where relevant, to the needs of vulnerable consumers who do not

necessarily have access to printed information (literacy issues), electronic information (digital divide,

poverty), or verbal information (physical isolation, language barriers).
NOTE 1 ISO 10002 provides information about complaints handling.

NOTE 2 ISO 10377 provides information about consumer product safety guidelines for suppliers.

NOTE 3 ISO 10393 provides information about product recall.

NOTE 4 ISO/IEC Guide 37 and IEC 82079-1 provide information about instructions for use.

NOTE 5 ISO/IEC Guide 41 provides information about residual risks in packaging.

NOTE 6 ISO/IEC Guide 50 and ISO/IEC Guide 71 provide information about vulnerable consumers.

NOTE 7 ISO/IEC Guide 51 provides information about managing risk for consumer products.

NOTE 8 ISO Guide 64 provides information about environmental issues in products.
4.4 Performance and conditions of use

Information should be included about the performance and conditions of use, in order to meet

increased expectations of consumers. Performance information can include the type of use the product

is intended for and whether it is suitable for an extended period of time. Compatibility information

is important, especially with media products, as well as any limitations for use in application. Other

factors can include acceptable ranges of temperature, humidity, pressure, load or energy consumption.

4.5 Dependability considerations

The importance of considering dependability aspects can vary significantly with the type of consumer

product. For limited-use and time-limited products, it might not be necessary to provide much

information to the consumer. For others, there are important things for the consumer to consider about

reliability, maintenance and maintenance support requirements when buying a product.

NOTE IEC/TC 56, Dependability, defines depen
...

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