New guide helps $2 shops and discount stores keep dangerous products off the shelves

21 September 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and state and territory consumer protection agencies have, led by Victoria, developed a new guide for ‘two dollar’ shops, discount variety stores and weekend market stallholders to help them understand their mandatory product safety requirements and ensure the products they are selling are safe.

“Businesses across Australia value their customers’ safety. Unfortunately, many are not aware of the laws governing the sale of these products. Businesses should not assume that imported products have been checked for compliance with Australia’s product safety laws,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.  

“The guide details mandatory product safety obligations and provides a summary of suppliers’ responsibilities under Australia’s national product safety laws. Additionally it features photos of many of the regulated products and useful information in English, Vietnamese and Chinese.”

Suppliers are required to ensure that the products they sell are compliant with Australian laws. The ACCC regularly partners with state and territory consumer protection agencies on joint product safety surveillance activities.

“The ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies recently targeted the safety of children’s products and surveyed over 16,000 product lines across nearly 2,000 retailers Australia-wide,” Ms Rickard said.

“Although the surveillance revealed high levels of compliance across most retailers and product lines, it did result in some non-compliant products being removed from the marketplace.”

Recalled products include baby dummies, children’s nightwear, prams and strollers, cots and baby walkers. Details of these recalls are available at www.recalls.gov.au.

“While most suppliers are meeting their mandatory product safety obligations, any non-compliance can potentially impact safety, which the ACCC takes very seriously,” Ms Rickard said.

“This includes failing to comply with the requirements of warning labels, which are used to alert consumers to hazards associated with a product.”

As a result of this recent surveillance activity, the ACCC is currently considering court enforceable actions against some of the non-compliant suppliers.

“One court enforceable undertaking has already been finalised with G & R Wills Holdings Pty Ltd, who have agreed to implement a product safety campaign in remote Indigenous communities after supplying unsafe baby walkers and strollers,” Ms Rickard said.

“The onus is on businesses to ensure that they products they sell comply with all Australian laws. However I also strongly encourage parents and carers to do what they can to ensure infant and nursery products are safe for their children,” Ms Rickard said.

Ms Rickard recommended the following tips for parents and carers:
• Look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use and supervision.
• Read and follow information on labels and packaging.
• Stop using the product if it causes harm to you or your child and contact the supplier and the ACCC immediately.
• Stay in touch with recalled products via www.recalls.gov.au or the ACCC Recalls Australia iPhone and Android app.
• Download the recently released ‘Keeping baby safe’ iPhone & iPad app which features over 30 different infant and nursery products with information on hazards related to the product, what to look for when purchasing and safety habits.
For more information about product safety, visit www.productsafety.gov.au or call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502 or follow us on Twitter at @ACCCProdSafe. You can also find product safety information via the ACCC's Product Safety Facebook Page and YouTube channel ACCC Product Safety.

 

Release number: 
NR 205/12
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