Commissioner's Blog: Website makes product safety checks easier
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With Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
It’s now easier for you to check whether your consumer goods are safe thanks to the new Product Safety Australia website www.productsafety.gov.au, which I would urge you to add to your favourites and make use of.
There were 670 recalls across the country in the last financial year compared to 596 in the previous financial year.
The top five categories of recalled products were:
- Cars (182 recalls in 2015-16 compared to 169 in 2014-15)
- Food and groceries (123 recalls in 2015-16 compared to 71 in 2014-15)
- Electrical and gas (80 recalls in 2015-16 compared to 104 in 2014-15)
- Hobbies, sporting and recreation (79 recalls in 2015-16 compared to 44 in 2014-15)
- Kids (75 recalls in 2015-16 compared to 78 in 2014-15).
To ensure you don’t have any unsafe goods lying around in your home or garage check www.productsafety.gov.au/recalls. Act quickly to remove potentially harmful products from your property if they have been recalled. Businesses can also use this helpful tool to ensure that unsafe products are removed from shelves.
As well as looking at the types of products subject to recalls, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also been exploring what factors may influence recall success.
The major findings were that recall rates are influenced most by:
- price point;
- the availability of a customer list (so suppliers can contact affected consumers);
- the lifespan of a product; and
- consumer perception of the risk and hazard of the product.
The first six to eight weeks of a recall campaign is the most important time because that is when more than 80 per cent of all products that are likely to come back, are returned.
The ACCC conducted a consumer survey to determine if there is a specific price point at which customers would be motivated to return recalled products. The poll results suggest that 70 per cent of people will take back a recalled good that cost $25 or more.
Buying and using products wisely is an important part of self-protection and the advice on the new Product Safety Australia website provides consumers with safety education as well as listing the products that are managed by mandatory safety standards. The site also explains which specialist agencies have responsibility for products that aren’t managed by the ACCC.
Additionally, the website gives you the option to sign up for email alerts on the latest recalled products and even tailor the alerts by choosing products that interest you.
Consumers can report unsafe products to the ACCC by completing a simple web form. This reporting could help protect others from harm. Alternatively, you have the option of alerting Consumer Protection WA about potentially unsafe products for sale in Western Australia by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1300 30 40 54.
The Product Safety Australia website is fully mobile responsive enabling you to keep up-to-date on the latest product recalls and safety information from any device whether at home, work or on the go. I congratulate the ACCC on the development of this important online one-stop-shop.
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