Paediatrician applalled by lack of product safety testing
The onus for meeting product safety laws rests with suppliers, but now one doctor is calling for new laws following a string of products failures and serious injuries.
An online shopping club that sold children's nightwear "so unsafe that it should not have been supplied in Australia at all" has been fined $500,000 by the Federal Court.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission brought proceedings against online retailer Ozsale Pty Ltd for selling more than 200 non-compliant garments and stocking more than 11,000 non-compliant garments available for supply to Australian consumers.
"The ACCC brought these proceedings because Ozsale placed children at increased risk of injury by supplying non-compliant garments," said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
"The Orange Superhero Pajamas were particularly concerning, as the fabric and the length of the cape presented a very real risk of injury, as it could easily brush against a heat source and very quickly catch fire."
Ozsale offers online memberships to customers to whom it sells clothing sourced from excess inventory from mostly overseas suppliers.
The retailer, which describes itself as a "doorway to affordable designer fashion", acknowledged in joint submissions to the court that five styles of children's nightwear it supplied between February 2014 and October 2015 fail to meet safety standards.
It also admitted that it did not have procedures to ensure that its children's nightwear met safety standards.
Australia's mandatory standards for children's nightwear specify the mass of certain fabrics, to regulate the a garment's burning capacity, as well as the maximum allowable length for attachments or trims.
"The mandatory safety standard for children's nightwear exists to ensure that consumers have accurate information about flammability. In this case, one garment was so unsafe that it should not have been supplied in Australia at all," Ms Rickard said.
The products which Ozsale admitted did not meet mandatory standards included the Absorba Bodysuit, the Sleep Sack and the Orange Superhero Pajamas, all of which lacked a hazard warning label. The latter also failed to comply with fabric mass and length regulations.
Other products, which were labelled with the wrong type of fire hazard warning, were the Joules Junior Pajamas and Babycottons Pajamas.
Consumers who have purchased any of the listed products have been advised to return them immediately to Ozsale, where they are entitled to a full refund.
The $500,000 penalty is not the first for the online retailer, which recently paid a $10,800 penalty and offered court enforceable undertakings for alleged misleading representations in relation to consumer guarantees.
"All retailers who sell products covered by an Australian mandatory safety standard must ensure they have compliance processes in place...failure to do so not only puts consumers at risk but, as these penalties demonstrate, is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law which can attract significant penalties," Ms Rickard said.
The Herald has contacted Ozsale for comment.