Refunds of the purchase price or battery replacement will be offered as part of a court-enforceable undertaking offered by Alco Battery Sales to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Alco Battery Sales imports and distributes batteries for various applications including the Fullriver DCG Series batteries.

From July 2006 to December 2007, it represented that the Fullriver DCG series batteries it supplied were gel batteries. Testing of a DCG100-12/Gel battery showed that it contained only 0.55 per cent silicone dioxide and accordingly, it was an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery.

Gel and AGM batteries have their own specific features designed to suit different applications such as golf buggies, electric scooters, four wheel drive vehicles, boats, electric wheelchairs, pallet movers and forklifts.

Gel batteries can be left discharged for longer periods of time without affecting their ability to recover. AGM batteries have a higher charge acceptance rate than other types and are not as susceptible as gel batteries to damage caused by lack of charge voltage control.

The ACCC was concerned that by representing the Fullriver DCG series batteries as gel batteries, consumers were misled about the composition of Fullriver DCG series batteries, in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Alco Battery Sales under which it:

  • will not make similar representations about the composition of the batteries it supplies
  • will offer a full refund of the purchase price to those consumers who bought Fullriver DCG series batteries from Alco Battery Sales, or a distributor or a retailer who supplied them with Fullriver DCG series batteries, or offer a replacement battery, and
  • implement and maintain a trade practices law compliance program.

"When firms make a claim about a product they must ensure the claim is correct," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "In particular when importing products, they should seek specific assurances that the products are as ordered and maybe seek independent product testing."