Sunglasses makers recall product after ACCC action

16 June 2003

Sunglasses makers JM Australia Pty Ltd and Creative Brands Pty Ltd have given the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission court-enforceable undertakings, including voluntary product safety recalls, in relation to sunglasses that fail the relevant product safety standard.

Under a continuing ACCC sunglasses survey program, products in a variety of retail outlets in Perth, Darwin and Sydney were examined. While compliance was generally high considering the large number of sunglasses surveyed, the ACCC is concerned that several brands or styles failed to comply with some of the requirements of the standard.

The ACCC raised its concerns with the retailers and the suppliers of all the non-complying sunglasses.

JM Australia Pty Ltd and Creative Brands Pty Ltd have co-operated gived court enforceable undertakings to cease supplying the sunglasses, withdraw all remaining supplies from sale, establish trade practices compliance programs, and place recall notices in newspapers.

The ACCC continues to follow up action with a number of companies. It reminds sunglasses and fashion spectacles suppliers that they must ensure that their products comply with the mandatory product safety standard. The mandatory standard requires compliance with Australian Standard 1067.1-1990.

"Sunglasses and fashion spectacles which do not meet the mandatory product safety standard cannot be legally supplied in Australia", ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

The ACCC has the responsibility for ensuring compliance with mandatory consumer product standards and regulations under the Trade Practices Act 1974. The Act prohibits the supply of goods that do not comply with a prescribed Australian consumer product safety or information standard.

All trading corporations who supply goods covered by a mandatory standard are required to ensure that the goods comply with that mandatory standard. The term "supply" includes retail and wholesale transactions, exchange, lease, hire, hire-purchase and "give-aways".

The safety standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles aims to reduce the risk of damage to eyesight caused by excessive exposure to ultra violet light and to ensure that sunglasses are labelled with appropriate warnings. Warnings provide valuable guidance to consumers about the purpose for which a pair of sunglasses is suitable.

For example, some sunglasses may distort the vision of persons with defective colour vision.

The standard also requires that the manufacturer's name, trade name or trade mark, and the classification of the sunglasses be marked on the frames of sunglasses and fashion spectacles or on labels attached to them. Following amendments to the mandatory standard, general purpose sunglasses are no longer required to be marked with a classification but must carry a driving warning where appropriate.

The tests were conducted against the Australian Standard by Unisearch Optics and Radiometry at the University of New South Wales.

The ACCC will continue to monitor sunglasses as part of its survey program. Random surveys are also conducted from time to time to ensure compliance with the standard.

Copies of the relevant standard may be purchased from Standards Australia in each state. Booklets providing a guide to the standard can be obtained from ACCC offices.

"The ACCC gives a high priority to its role in product safety because of the potential safety risks to consumers and will take swift action to where issues of public safety are concerned".

Release number: 
MR 123/03
ACCC Infocentre: 

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