Made In China: Watchdog Warns Dodgy Goods
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims has warned a ‘number of retailers’ who appear to be supplying unsafe, low value goods sourced from overseas.
The ACCC negotiated 91 recalls last financial year, resulting in over two million hazardous products being recalled in Australia. Recalled products include teeth whiteners ( 28 in total) and hair straighteners, DVD players, washing machines, Infant recliner Nap Nanny and folding ladders.
Sims raised the concerns in his address to the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organisation Asia-Pacific Symposium in the Gold Coast, as part of Product Safety Week.
“We are concerned by indications that some major retailers appear not to have the satisfactory processes in place to meet their responsibility properly to ensure the safety of the goods they sell”, he said.
Reported injuries have ranged from toddlers whose fingertips were amputated or lacerated by a defective stroller, an infant sustained burns on the hands and face when a DVD player exploded in her lap, a plasma screen television with a faulty stand fell onto an infant, and a number of unsafe ladders that caused various broken bones and fractures.
Her says everyone in the supply chain has a role to play in preventing dodgy gear being sold; manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers.
The ACCC has a range of enforcement options, including specific product safety provisions, which it will apply if retailers contravene the law as a result of taking short-cuts in their product design.
“To avoid contravening the consumer protection laws, retailers need to consider their processes so that they do not put unsafe goods on their shelves.”
“If major retailers are discovered to have taken short-cuts in applying basic quality assurance and control measures, at the expense of consumer safety, we will take action in any way we can.”
Recent reforms had provided the ACCC with a nationally harmonised product safety regime, better laws and improved hazard identification processes. ACCC now receives over 2,500 mandatory reports every year.
“Suppliers must now notify the ACCC of incidents they become aware of where a person has received a serious injury that they, or someone, associates with a consumer product. This notification is required within two days.”
Mr Sims said that Australians want affordable goods, but more than that consumers want to be safe, and want their children to be safe, when using these goods.