Following legal proceedings filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in the Federal Court, Online Dealz Pty Ltd (Online Dealz) and its director and sole shareholder Janet Lucas have provided undertakings to the Court to refrain from supplying baby cots and strollers which the ACCC alleges do not comply with mandatory safety standards pending further orders.
The undertakings given to the Court by Online Dealz and Ms Lucas are given without prejudice to their rights to contest the ACCC’s proceedings on an interlocutory and final basis, and that they make no admissions by giving the undertakings.
The ACCC commenced these proceedings because testing commissioned by the ACCC indicates that the following products are non-compliant with the relevant safety standard:
- A household cot identified as ‘3 in 1 Wooden Sleigh Cot (white)’;
- A portable cot identified as ‘Frank Masons Portable Cot PL5007 (in Pink) Ref: 2012203PL5007’; and
- A baby stroller identified as ‘‘Frank Masons’ brand stroller ‘Multifunctional Luxury Baby Stroller’’.
“The tests commissioned by the ACCC indicate that these baby cots and stroller posed various entrapment hazards, which could result in a child’s head or limb becoming stuck causing serious injuries such as fractures, as well as strangulation or suffocation,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“The tests also indicate that the products do not comply with labelling requirements, which provide information to consumers about the correct way to use the products. For example, the cots do not contain the required labelling stating the recommended mattress size. Using an incorrectly sized mattress may result in suffocation or the child falling from the cot.”
“Based on the test results obtained, the ACCC is concerned that these products do not comply with the applicable safety standards and pose a safety risk to babies and children. In view of these test results, the ACCC strongly encourages parents and carers who have purchased these products to immediately cease using them,” Ms Court said.
The Respondents have provided undertakings to the Court that they will provide details to the ACCC of all consumers who have purchased the products by Wednesday 1 April 2015. This will enable the ACCC to urgently contact consumers who have purchased the products.
In the proceedings it has commenced in the Federal Court, the ACCC alleges that Online Dealz and Ms Lucas have contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by supplying products that do not comply with the relevant safety standard. The ACCC also alleges that Online Dealz and Ms Lucas misled consumers as to the characteristics and suitability for purpose of the baby cots and stroller by representing that the products were safe, and that they complied with the relevant safety standard. The ACCC will now prepare for the further hearing of these proceedings.
The ACCC is seeking a range of final relief, including declarations, permanent injunctions, pecuniary penalties and costs, as well as a disqualification order against Ms Lucas. The ACCC is also seeking to have the non-compliant products recalled and destroyed, and refunds issued to consumers.
The matter is next before the Federal Court in Sydney on 8 April 2015.
Products supplied by Online Dealz which are the subject of interim undertakings
The non-compliant household cot supplied by Online Dealz identified as ‘3 in 1 Wooden Sleigh Cot (white)’ was advertised for sale as “NEW 3 IN 1 BABY SLEIGH COT WITH DRAWER & TODDLER RAIL + MATTRESS AUS CERTIFIED”(in white).
The non-compliant portable cot supplied by Online Dealz identified as ‘Frank Masons Portable Cot PL5007 (in Pink Ref: 2012203PL5007’ was advertised for sale as “PORTCOT 7 IN 1 BABY TRAVEL PORTACOT PLAYPEN COT 2012 TRAVEL COT BASSINET”(in pink).
The non-compliant baby stroller supplied by Online Dealz identified as ‘ ’Frank Masons’ brand stroller ‘Multifunctional Luxury Baby Stroller’ ‘ was advertised for sale as “ALUMINIUM BABY STROLLER PRAM Jogger with SEAT + BASSINET + Rain Cover + Insert”.
Products supplied by Frank Masons
Ms Lucas was previously the director of Frank Masons Pty Ltd. Frank Masons supplied a number of products online, including baby cots and strollers.
On 31 July 2014 it was announced that Frank Masons would conduct a voluntary recall of the ‘Wooden Baby Sleigh Cot Bed’ which failed to comply with the safety standard.
The non-compliant household cot supplied by Frank Masons which was the subject of the recall was identified as ‘Wooden Baby Sleigh Cot Bed’ and was advertised for sale as “NEW 3 in 1 Wooden Baby SLEIGH Cot Bed Bassinet Toddler + Underneath Drawer”.
On 15 July 2014, prior to the voluntary recall being agreed with Frank Masons, Ms Lucas ceased to be a director of Frank Masons. On 8 August 2014, Online Dealz was registered, and Ms Lucas was appointed and remains the sole director and sole shareholder of Online Dealz.
The ACCC understands that the voluntary recall was not completed, as Frank Masons was placed into voluntary administration on 8 December 2014.
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