ACCC boss warns retailers on selling unsafe goods

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has used his keynote address at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organisation Asia-Pacific Symposium on the Gold Coast this morning to raise concerns about retailers selling unsafe goods.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has used his keynote address at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organisation Asia-Pacific Symposium on the Gold Coast this morning to raise concerns about retailers selling unsafe goods.

At the event, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission boss opened the event by expressing the consumer watchdog’s concern about the number of retailers who appear to be supplying unsafe goods, particularly low value goods directly sourced from overseas. To combat such activity, Sims said the ACCC has a range of enforcement options, including specific product safety provisions, which it will apply if retailers contravene the law as a result of taking short cuts in their product design and purchasing procedures. 

“We are concerned by indications that some major retailers appear not to have satisfactory processes in place to meet their responsibility properly to ensure the safety of the goods they sell,” Sims said. “To avoid contravening the consumer protection laws, retailers need to consider their processes so that they do not put unsafe goods on their shelves. 

“If major retailers are discovered to have taken short cuts in applying basic quality assurance and control measures, at the expense of consumer safety, we will take action in any way we can.” 

At the event, which is part of Product Safety Week, Sims said reforms had provided the ACCC with a nationally harmonised product safety regime, better laws and improved hazard identification processes. One such reform was the introduction of the mandatory reporting requirement, which was incorporated into the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC now receives over 2,500 mandatory reports every year. 

The reforms have led to a significant involvement in the management of recalls. The ACCC negotiated 91 recalls last financial year, resulting in over two million additional hazardous products being recalled from the Australian market. Suppliers must now notify the ACCC of incidents they become aware of where a person has received a serious injury that they, or someone, associates with a consumer product. This notification is required within two days.” 

Sims’ speech is available in full here.

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