Product safety and consumer rights
When a consumer buys a product, they have a right to expect it will be safe. Safety is part of acceptable quality, one of the basic rights called consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law.
If a product is unsafe, this is classed as a major problem, so the consumer is entitled to their choice of a replacement or refund.
Consumers may also be entitled to compensation for damages and loss caused by an unsafe product, in addition to a replacement or refund.
Businesses are responsible for resolving 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 manufacturer must reimburse the seller for its costs.
Safety information for specific products
Product Safety Australia is the ACCC’s website dedicated to product safety. It includes tips on buying and using products safely.
Product Safety Australia also has up-to-date information about recalls, 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, it may need to be taken off the market or recalled.
A product can be recalled by the business selling the product, or by a government order.
Check whether a product is recalled
Some products sold in Australia must meet mandatory standards designed to prevent or reduce the risk of injury. Examples include bike helmets, cots and fire extinguishers.
Check whether a product must meet mandatory standards
Some products are banned from sale altogether. Bans can be temporary or permanent. Businesses must not sell banned products.
Check whether a product is banned
ACCC product safety priorities
Each year, the ACCC identifies priorities to minimise the risks posed by unsafe consumer goods, and to raise awareness of those risks.
See our current product safety priorities
What businesses must do
Businesses have several responsibilities to protect consumers from unsafe products. They include to
- make sure products they sell are safe
- comply with consumer guarantee rights if they sell an unsafe product
- comply with mandatory standards and not supply banned products
- recall products that will or may cause injury
- report to the ACCC any serious injury, illness or death associated with a product they have sold.