Faulty products hit list

4.5 million recalls in FY18.

Faulty products continue to cause serious injury and harm to thousands of Australians, with more than 4.5 million items recalled by suppliers in the 2017-18 financial year. A total of 613 products were recalled, 26 from the electronics and technology sectors.

New figures showed at least 10 people a day are injured and require medical attention as a result of unsafe products, according to mandatory reports provided to the ACCC by manufacturers and retailers.

“Ten injuries a day due to defective products is alarming, but we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg as many more consumers don’t report injuries to the product suppliers at all,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Australians would be surprised to hear that it is not illegal to supply unsafe products in Australia, as it is in a range of places like the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Malaysia and Brazil. We think consumers should be able to expect the products they purchase aren’t going to cause them an injury.

“The number of Australians being injured by unsafe products is far too high, and we encourage people to sign up to recalls information or follow us on social media so they can be alerted to any potential risks in their homes,” she said.

In March, the ACCC announced it would be targeting nine critical safety issues facing Australian consumers that included reducing the risk from button batteries, working with state and territory consumer agencies to improve the safety of toppling furniture such as TVs, as well as improving the safety of products supplied over the internet.

Of the types of products the ACCC has sole responsibility for recalling, the highest represented categories included outdoor and camping products, kitchenware, furniture and items for babies and children.

The ACCC says the consistently high number of recalls suggest the need for a General Safety Provision, currently being considered by Consumer Affairs Ministers, which would require businesses to ensure the safety of the goods they sell.

“We strongly support the introduction of a General Safety Provision by the Australian Government, which is designed to stop unsafe goods from being sold in Australia,” Rickard said. “Consumers are encouraged to sign up to Product Safety Australia email alert to keep up to date with current recalls.”

Key recalls for 2017/18: include the Takata airbags, Infinity cables, Samsung washing machines and Safetech pool gate latches.

The Product Safety Australia website also provides consumers with safety education, lists the products that are managed by mandatory safety standards and explains which specialist agencies have responsibility for products that aren’t managed by the ACCC.

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