ACCC receives undertaking from sunglass retailer for non-compliance with mandatory standard

29 July 2008

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Busby Distribution Pty Ltd, trading as Aldo Australia, after it supplied sunglasses that failed to comply with the prescribed mandatory product safety standard.*

The undertaking follows on from a retail survey blitz** on two major shopping centres in November 2007 targeting retailers of non-compliant sunglasses.

Aldo, a retailer of women's and men's footwear and accessories, operates stores in Victoria and New South Wales.

Aldo supplied sunglasses that failed to comply with the labelling requirements of the standard. Specifically, they failed to state the lens category number and corresponding description, and in the case of nine models of sunglasses, failed to provide warnings that the sunglasses were "not suitable for driving at night" (in the case of sunglasses with category one lenses) or "must not be used when driving" (in the case of sunglasses with category four lenses).

Prompted by the ACCC's discovery of labelling failures, Aldo reviewed its range of sunglasses and advised that it had sold 21 models of sunglasses that failed the performance requirements of the standard. The performance failures posed potential serious safety concerns in that they could result in wearers failing to recognise certain colours, such as those increasingly used in traffic lights, vehicle signalling and tail lights and emergency vehicle signals. As a result Aldo conducted a voluntary product safety recall in May 2008.

In resolution of the matter, Aldo has undertaken to:

  • ensure sunglasses supplied by it that are subject to a mandatory safety and/or information standard prescribed under the Trade Practices Act 1974 comply with the relevant standard
  • obtain compliance certificates, or otherwise seek assurance, from Aldo's suppliers or through engaging independent testing from an accredited testing agency that sunglasses supplied to Aldo comply with any applicable mandatory safety and/or information standard prescribed under the Act
  • put in place procedures to ensure display and sales stock of sunglasses are appropriately labelled, and
  • implement a trade practices law compliance program.

A copy of the undertaking will be available on the public register section of the ACCC's website.

"We welcome that the company has demonstrated its willingness to conduct a voluntary recall and undertake ongoing steps to ensure future compliance," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"This is another reminder to retailers that the ACCC will be monitoring the market for compliance with the standard now and leading up to the next summer season, and those found to be supplying non-compliant sunglasses will be dealt with seriously, including possible litigation."

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Release number: 
MR 215/08
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Mr Graeme Samuel - (02) 6243 1131
Ms Lin Enright - (02) 6243 1108