Federal Court orders recall of elastic luggage straps for safety breach after ACCC action

23 December 2004

The Federal Court has ordered the recall of certain elastic luggage straps because they do not comply with the prescribed consumer product safety standard.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took urgent court action this week because of its concerns that the product presented a public safety risk. The importer of the product, Pro-Kit Pty Ltd, consented to the court orders.

"There is a significant danger of eye or facial injuries if elastic luggage straps are used incorrectly and that is why the safety standard is in place and needs to be enforced",  ACCC Chairman,  Mr Graeme Samuel, today. "Whilst the product is a useful item warning labels are required to properly inform the public about its correct use.

"There have been many recorded eye and facial injuries, and one recorded death, resulting from the incorrect use of such luggage straps. The potential risk to the public is even more important at Christmas time when so many people are purchasing such products to assist them with their preparations for holiday travels".

The ACCC alleged that the Ratchet Tie Down Set contained elastic luggage straps that did not have permanently attached to them the required warning label regarding usage, and eye injuries that could be suffered by users of the product.

Justice Jacobson declared that Pro-Kit has contravened s65C of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Other orders of the court include:

  • an injunction retraining Pro-Kit for a period of five years from supplying elastic luggage straps which do not meet the prescribed product safety standard
  • Pro-Kit to place a public recall notice in major daily newspapers in every State of Territory where the luggage strap was sold
  • Pro-Kit to send a product safety recall notice to all retailers it supplied the luggage straps to
  • Pro-Kit to make arrangements to collect the product from any person wishing to return it,
  • Pro-Kit to formulate and implement a trade practices compliance program, and
  • Payment of ACCC legal costs of $5,000.00.

"This case illustrates that the ACCC will move very quickly to ensure that contravenors of the product safety standards are called to account", Mr Samuel said.

"The ACCC filed court proceedings on Tuesday and had a final outcome on Wednesday, and this is all just a few days before Christmas.

"Businesses need to ensure that they prevent breaches of product safety standards through their own internal compliance mechanisms. If they don’t, they risk finding themselves facing an ACCC action in the Federal Court".

The ACCC acknowledges Pro-Kit’s co-operation in resolving the proceeding. 

Release number: 
MR 305/04
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Ms Lin Enright - (02) 6243 1108
Mr Graeme Samuel - 0408 335 555