Commissioner's Blog: Have you bought a recalled product?
With Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
You may have seen or heard about a Samsung washing fire at a rental property in Wanneroo recently. Early indications are that it was a top loader which is subject to a national product safety recall and I would like to use the case as a reminder about recalled products that pose a threat to public safety.
Under the Australian Consumer Law all consumer products supplied in Australia must be safe and meet consumer guarantees (acceptable quality, matches the description given etc.). Banned products cannot be sold and products or product-related services must comply with relevant safety standards. If there is a risk that a product will or may cause injury, it must be recalled. There is a mandatory requirement for businesses to report any death, serious injury or illness associated with a product to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) within two days.
Many product safety recalls are voluntary or carried out voluntarily at the request of a consumer protection agency. An example of a current voluntary recall is the Takata airbag recall, which is being run by the manufacturers of affected vehicles or their Australian representatives.
Compulsory recalls of a product are ordered where it appears the supplier has not taken satisfactory action to prevent the goods from causing injury.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announce product safety recalls online at www.recalls.gov.au, which I would encourage you to save to your favourites.
As I mentioned, current recalls include six Samsung top loading washing machines manufactured between 2010 and 2013. The affected models are: SW75V9WIP; SW65V9WIP; SW70SPWIP; SW80SPWIP; WA85GWGIP; WA85GWWIP. These faulty machines are responsible for more than 200 house fires across Australia. Unfortunately more than 6000 remain in WA homes due to a very poor response rate of owners across our state. We are lagging well behind the other states.
Other unsafe products to be aware of are:
- Hoverboards that catch on fire through electrical faults. A number of hoverboards with unapproved chargers have been recalled and further to this there is an interim ban in place on hoverboards which fail to meet electrical safety standards.
- Chairs that can slice limbs. Powder coated steel ‘Worx’ chairs with welded frames sold at Fantastic Furniture have tapering of the inside bottom of the legs that may lead to an entrapment or laceration hazard. A similar design Kmart Australia Metal Chair has been recalled for the same reason.
- Faulty electrical cable in thousands of homes. Infinity and Olsen-branded Infinity cables do not comply with Australian electrical safety standards. Expert advice is they may become prematurely brittle and break if disturbed, exposing the internal conductors and potentially causing electrical shock or fires.
- Butane gas cookers that could explode. A number of butane gas stoves or ‘lunchbox cookers’ have been recalled due to the risk of severe burns or major injuries because automatic shut off valves fail.
- Light-up novelty drinking cups with potentially lethal button batteries. 15,000 cups promoting Disney Pixar film ‘Inside Out’ were sold at Event Cinemas across Australia in June-July 2015. The lid contains three button batteries and the compartment is not adequately secured, meaning children could access the batteries, which can kill a child if swallowed.
It’s important to make sure you are not using recalled products and if you realise that you are, fixing the problem shouldn’t cost you. If a product you buy is recalled, the supplier may offer you a full refund, a suitable replacement product of the same value, or a modification or repair of the product. Your rights can vary slightly depending on the way the recall is conducted (voluntary and managed by the supplier or compulsory due to an order by the ACCC). As a starting point, check with the supplier for details. If you cannot resolve your problem with a recalled product, contact the ACCC or Consumer Protection WA (1300 30 40 54 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
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