Portable ethanol burners - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Portable decorative ethanol burners, like those pictured, were banned from sale in Western Australia since 21 December 2016, and from 15 July 2017, are prohibited under a mandatory safety standard.

More detail is available from the product safety page Ethanol burners (Decorative alcohol fuelled burners)

WA consumers

I own a small freestanding ethanol burner bought prior to the mandatory standard. Do I need to do anything?

Stop using it.

Even if you have been using the product for a number of years without incident, using your ethanol burner could lead to a serious accident. Since 2010 there have been more than 100 separate injuries attributed to these products and 115 ethanol-burner related fires. This is the reason for their prohibition under the mandatory standard.

Can I get a refund?

Under Australian Consumer Law, consumer guarantees mean that products must be of acceptable quality, which includes that they must be safe. Many small, freestanding burners—where the fuel is poured into the same area as the flame—are unsafe.

Consumers who have purchased unsafe table top devices should return the product for a full refund. Retailers may require consumers provide proof of purchase. 

Proof of purchase can be:

  • a receipt; 
  • credit card or bank statement showing that transaction; or 
  • specific packaging that identifies the retailer, such as a branded box that the ethanol burner came in, or a store name on the product itself.

If you are unsatisfied with the remedy offered by the retailer you may lodge a complaint.

I received a non-compliant ethanol burner as a gift, what should I do now?

Take it back to the retailer with proof of purchase and ask for a refund. 

What if I no longer have proof of purchase?

Retailers may decline your request but if the ethanol burner does not comply with the new mandatory standard and a dispute arises about whether you are entitled to claim a refund without proof of purchase, you may seek the opinion of an Australian court or tribunal.

If your claim is refused, please stop using your ethanol burner.

Can I sell my ethanol burner via a Facebook selling page and/or Gumtree?

NO. You should not on-sell any product that has been banned, recalled or made non-compliant with a mandatory standard. Selling an item knowing of its potential to harm could be negligent and expose you to liability.

Consumer Protection regulators will be monitoring the second-hand marketplace.

You may ask for a refund from the retailer but in either case we recommend you do NOT use it.

What should I do with my leftover ethanol/eco-fuel?

You can take it to your nearest Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility.

Is it OK to buy a second hand table top burner from a private seller?

NO. These products have been banned due to their potential to cause serious injury or even death. You should not put yourself or others at risk by purchasing one. 

Report table top burners for sale on Gumtree, Facebook selling pages etc. to Consumer Protection by email or phone: 1300 304 054.

We are already monitoring the second-hand marketplace and alerting private sellers this prohibition is in place.

I know of a business selling ethanol burners locally which do not meet the mandatory standard. What should I do?

Report the details to Consumer Protection as soon as possible via email or phone: 1300 304 054.

WA businesses

I sell ethanol burners. What do I do?

All businesses in the supply chain are responsible for ensuring products they supply comply with mandatory safety standards. Under the Australian Consumer Law, there are tough penalties for selling products which do not comply with a safety standard. Individuals can face a maximum fine of $220,000, with $1.1 million for corporations.

The safety standard applies to consumer goods that produce a flame using alcohol as fuel and are designed to be used primarily for decorative purposes. Such devices must:

  • be a permanent fixture or have a dry weight of at least 8 kilograms and a footprint of at least 900 square centimetres;
  • meet the stability test set out in the European standard; and
  • come with a fuel container with a flame arrester or an automatic fuel pump system
  • have the prescribed warning.

Further details about the mandatory standard are on the ACCC’s Decorative alcohol fuelled devices page.

The mandatory standard includes a transitional provision where suppliers have the option of complying with the specifications in the former national interim ban from 15 July to 14 October 2017. From 15 October 2017 suppliers must comply with the mandatory standard.

You may contact Consumer Protection to work with us in regard to industry compliance with the ban as well as how to address refund requests from your customers: 

  • Email or
  • Phone: 1300 304 054.

Consumer Protection
20 Dec 2016

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