- 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.
- Some products must meet mandatory safety standards before they can be sold in Australia.
- Unsafe products can be banned or recalled from sale.
- Businesses have several responsibilities designed to protect consumers from unsafe products.
What the ACCC does
- We identify and address the risk of serious injury and death from safety hazards in consumer products. We work with other regulators to do this.
- We review and update mandatory standards for product safety.
- We negotiate, assess and check the effectiveness of voluntary product recalls.
What the ACCC can't do
- We don’t resolve individual complaints about unsafe products.
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.
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.
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.
Some products are banned from sale altogether. Bans can be temporary or permanent. Businesses must not sell banned products.
Each year, the ACCC identifies priorities to minimise the risks posed by unsafe consumer goods, and to raise awareness of those risks.
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.
If a business has sold an unsafe product, the first step is to check if the product has been recalled. If it has been recalled, there will be instructions on what to do next in the recall notice.
If the product hasn’t been recalled, consumers should contact the business to explain the problem.
If the business doesn’t resolve the problem, there are more steps a consumer can take.
Report an unsafe product to the ACCC
Consumers can also report an unsafe product to the ACCC. We use these reports to decide what action to take to address the most significant product safety risks.