Product safety responsibilities

  • Products sold to consumers must be safe. If they are not, the seller must offer a replacement or refund, and may have to pay compensation.
  • Businesses must comply with mandatory standards and product bans.
  • If a product is a risk to safety, or it does not comply with a mandatory standard or product ban, the seller may need to recall it and notify the Australian Government Minister within 2 days.
  • If a business becomes aware of a serious injury, illness or death associated with a product they have sold or helped supply, they must report it within 2 days.

What the ACCC does

  • Working with other regulators, we identify and address the risk of serious injury and death from safety hazards in consumer products.
  • We review and update mandatory standards for product safety.
  • We negotiate, assess and monitor the effectiveness of voluntary product recalls.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t resolve individual complaints about unsafe products.
  • We don’t give legal advice on which standards a product needs to meet.
  • We don’t test products for safety or compliance with mandatory standards

Ensure products you sell are safe

Products sold to consumers must be safe. If they are not, the seller must offer a replacement or refund, and may have to pay compensation.

To reduce the risk of endangering consumers, manufacturers and sellers should:

  • regularly review product design and production
  • implement and review quality assurance procedures
  • test products regularly to relevant mandatory standards, including batch testing
  • check products are not banned, and keep up to date with new bans and requirements
  • market products honestly, including safety warnings if required
  • provide clear and thorough user instructions

Honour consumer guarantees if you sell an unsafe product

Sellers are responsible for providing a refund or replacement if there are any safety issues with products they sell to consumers. They must not tell consumers to go to the manufacturer for a solution.

However, if the safety issue is caused by a manufacturing defect, the seller is entitled to reimbursement from the manufacturer for any replacement or refund they give the consumer.

If the consumer is entitled to compensation for damages and loss, generally the manufacturer or importer of the product is liable to pay this compensation. However, the seller may be liable if they can’t identify the manufacturer or importer.

Comply with mandatory standards and don’t supply banned products

Some products sold in Australia must meet mandatory standards designed to prevent or reduce the risk of injury. Other products are banned from sale altogether. Bans can be temporary or permanent.

Sellers must comply with mandatory standards when selling products, and not sell products that are banned.

If businesses are not sure which mandatory standards a product needs to meet, they should seek legal advice.

See current mandatory standards on Product Safety Australia

See current product bans on Product Safety Australia

Recall products that may cause injury

If a product is a risk to safety, or it does not comply with a mandatory standard or product ban, the seller may need to recall it. If they go ahead with a voluntary recall, they must notify the responsible Commonwealth Minister within 2 days.

See when a recall is required, who to notify and what to do

If a product is recalled, the seller should conduct regular risk assessments, updating the risk notice where necessary to ensure it accurately reflects the hazard and the actions consumers should take.

See also

Product safety

Consumer guarantees

Complaints and problems

Repair, replace, refund

A guide to testing: product safety

Report serious injury, illness or death associated with a product

If you become aware of a serious injury, illness or death associated with a product your business has sold or helped supply, you must report it within 2 days.

This reporting is mandatory for anyone in the supply chain of consumer products and product-related services who becomes aware of an incident. This includes:

  • retailers and other sellers
  • suppliers, wholesalers and distributors
  • importers and manufacturers
  • installers and repairers.

Report a serious injury, illness or death