Stringent safety standards bind all manufacturers, particularly
in developed countries like Australia. However, sometimes consumer
goods or products slip through this net, occasionally with
One such instance that's hot in the news at the moment is
the recall of cars manufactured with Takata airbags, currently
affecting a wide range of cars produced by Chrysler, BMW, Honda,
Mazda, Nissan, Performax, Subaru and Toyota. The issue prompting
the recall is a defect which could result in the airbags rupturing
and sending debris throughout the car – to date, no injuries
have been reported in Australia.
Consumers of other products haven't fared as well –
take the recall that Fantastic Furniture was forced to undertake of
its popular Worx chairs – after two people lost toes due to a
design fault. It's estimated over 100,000 of the chairs had
already made their way into homes around Australia.
Hoverboards are more in the category of fun than an everyday
chair but nonetheless, they too fell foul of the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) earlier this year. The
popular devices were banned from sale in March of this year
following several cases of boards bursting into flames after
What do I do as a consumer?
Stop using the product immediately if you become aware of any
safety defect. You may want to check to see if there has been any
recall of that product.
You have rights under the Australian Consumer Law to obtain a
refund or replacement if you've purchased consumer goods which
are deemed unsafe or defective. A good first step is to contact
your supplier about the issue to see if they will offer a solution.
However, if their response isn't reasonable you can contact the
ACCC, NSW Fair Trading or seek legal advice on how to proceed.
What do I do as a retailer?
If you become aware of a safety defect in a product it may be
useful to get in contact with your supplier and see whether the
product has passed safety standards. If you realise that a product
has been recalled than you should stop selling it immediately.
If the product doesn't meet safety standards you're
obligated to provide any customers who have purchased the item with
a refund or replacement that meets the relevant standards. You can
contact the Australian manufacturer of the goods to seek
reimbursement of this cost.
Depending on your contract for supply you may be able to return
the stock as not being of acceptable quality.
What do I do as a supplier?
Under the Australian Consumer Law, where a product is a consumer
product and the supplier becomes aware that the product will or may
cause injury to a person or that a reasonably foreseeable use of
the product may cause injury to any other person or that the
product does not comply with the relevant safety standard, there is
an obligation on the supplier to take effective action (generally a
product recall) and to notify the Commonwealth Minister within two
days of taking action to recall the products.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Businesses should ensure that any promotions do not cross a 'fine line' between acceptable and misleading or deceptive.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).