Australians could be at risk of injuries or even death from 6.6 million individual products currently under voluntary recall, with about half of these still likely to be found in people’s homes, new figures show.
Figures show that each year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is notified of about 650 consumer product recalls, but only about half of affected products are returned to sellers, leaving one in four Australian households exposed to potential hazards.
The ACCC is recommending that the government strengthen the Australian Consumer Law by requiring businesses to comply with a “new safety duty”, which would mean businesses must take “reasonable steps” to ensure the products they sell are not unsafe.
“In Australia, two people die, and 145 people are injured every day by unsafe consumer products,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“Many people would be surprised to learn there is currently no law that requires businesses to not sell unsafe products.
“We believe prevention is better than cure, and that legally requiring businesses to take steps to ensure the safety of their products before they enter the market is needed to protect Australian consumers.”
The ACCC is part of a global OECD campaign on product recalls to raise awareness of the importance of making sure recalled products are removed from homes.
Australian consumers are encouraged to sign up to the Product Safety Australia website to receive product recall alerts and to register their products with manufacturers, where possible, to ensure they receive information straight away if a product is recalled.
“It is really important that people sign up to ACCC product safety alerts and register products with manufacturers, so they stay informed about recalls and can act to remove unsafe products from their homes,” Ms Court said.
“We also have the biggest recall in Australian history underway: potentially deadly Takata airbags can still found in about half a million cars. It is vital that consumers don’t ignore recall information if they receive a letter, email or text from a manufacturer.”
For more information visit productsafety.gov.au
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